Smart streetlights helped police identify suspects of Alpha Project murder

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – They go by the name of “smart streetlights.” As of today, it’s become one of the most powerful tools for police to catch the bad guys. In this case, they may have solved the murder of a man named Ernie Buchanan outside a homeless shelter in San Diego.

“The smart streetlights have been a game changer for the San Diego Police Department in how cases are solved,” says San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit.

Less than two weeks after Buchanan was gunned down, police may have solved this high profile murder by using the images taken from the a smart streetlight in the East Village of San Diego. The father of six was working as a security guard and mentor for young homeless people at the Alpha Project.

“We were blessed by these cameras. We can now tell Ernie’s family we got the bad guys. If not for those cameras we would not be saying this. I’m all in favor of these cameras, that’s for sure,” says Bob McElroy of the Alpha Project.

Some people, mostly so-called civil rights groups, have been worried about “privacy” issues, since there are now about 3000-of these cameras around San Diego. These cameras roll all day long, all over town, and the images are saved. “It’s not like were sitting around looking at the cameras all day. If a crime happens, we go back and look at the location and see what we can see”, says Shawn Takeuchi of the San Diego Police.

For those who are concerned about personal privacy, there is a trade off. Each person has to decide if they are more concerned about personal privacy of personal safety. Either way, the smart streetlights are watching, and criminals are getting busted like never before.

Categories: Local San Diego News