Safe City Initiative
Safe City is a public/private partnership between the Saint Paul Police Department and area institutions and businesses to build trust, share information and leverage technology to deter and reduce crime in Saint Paul.
“Safe City gives our police department tools we need to prevent, detect and better investigate crimes,” said Saint Paul Police Chief John Harrington. “It will give us a means to strengthen partnerships with businesses and residents in the community and build confidence in the safety of our city.”
The centerpiece of the program is a network of surveillance cameras deployed along University Avenue, downtown and around the Port of Saint Paul on the Mississippi River. The first two phases of the camera project have been installed. These cameras act both as a deterrent to crime and as a tool for investigating and solving crimes. They provide the police and the public with another set of eyes in critical areas of the city.
The Safe City Initiative was launched with a $1.2 Million federal transit grant in 2007. The Saint Paul Police Foundation began a private fundraising effort for Safe City after Target Corporation contributed a $300,000 gift to Safe City in 2007. Other foundation donors supporting the Safe City Initiative include: 3M; Comcast; Ecolab; Hubbard Broadcasting; John Nasseff; Robins, Kaplan, Miller, Ciresi Foundation; Saint Paul Port Authority; Securian; Travelers; Xcel Energy; and Zeller Realty.
While security cameras have been the most visible element of the Safe City initiative, the real goal of the program is building community policing partnerships between the police department and the private sector to share information that will prevent criminal activity. As an example, cameras placed near Metropolitan State University are linked to the security staff at the University – allowing campus security to respond to incidents on and near the campus.
“This is the kind of partnership that the Saint Paul Police Foundation was created to nurture,” said Chris Georgecas, Chair of the Saint Paul Police Foundation Board. “We have the unique ability to raise private dollars and involve citizens in supporting the work of our police department. Safe City is an investment in our community that will pay off for years to come.”