BCSO using AI to track retail crime in the metro

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Whether it’s gunshot detection or car break-ins, it seems like artificial intelligence is everywhere and now the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office is using it to track retail crime.

The department’s most recent retail crime initiative was just rolled out on Tuesday, and it focuses on partnering with business owners.

AI technology is used to gather information on cars that are driving into business parking lots and to see if they are associated with any crime.  

“We want to make sure that we are partnering with businesses with the technology we are bringing into the office and in Bernalillo County. To make sure that we can expand what we are going on with our axon body-worn cameras and our license plate readers,” said Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen.

The Department is using Flock Safety but is also looking at other companies they can partner with to expand how they use AI.

“To use an example, Coronado Mall, lets say you had somebody that did retail crime numerous times in the same vehicle. It will alert us saying that that vehicle they have a criminal trespass warning with that company, they need to be off of that property so the business and us are alerted,” said Allen.

He said the program expands on their current license plate system and scans vehicles as they come into business parking lots.

“It really emphasizes to have an unbiased investigation we don’t want profiling or things of that nature to happen, we just don’t want to focus on one license plate we want to focus on a description of vehicles because we know there are some commonalities in the retail crime we are seeing in Bernalillo County,” he said.

Four businesses have already signed up for the initiative that was launched this week. It’s been a combination of local shops and big box stores.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff said any business owner that’s interested in this technology can reach out to the department. They’re also looking to partner with other agencies on this initiative.