ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Board Bill 200 has been perfected by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. It approves a contract between the City of St. Louis and Persistent Surveillance Systems. It must be voted on a second time by the board to pass. If it is approved by the board then the bill goes to the mayor’s office for a signature.
The goal is to reduce crime through aerial research. It is free for the city of St. Louis.
The company will provide surveillance from the air. In test cities, a high flying airplane with a powerful camera records everything below. It is supposed to help track the movements of a suspect after a crime is committed. The images the plane captures are not clear enough to see an individual’s features, but you could track them like dots on a map.
“When you bring crime down in a neighborhood then real estate values and economic prosperity has the ability to rise. Solving murders in an anti-poverty agenda. The surest way to economic prosperity is peace in the streets,” said bill sponsor Tom Oldenburg.
Persistent Surveillance Systems will be working with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to solve crimes.
Those who are not in favor of the cameras said they will violate privacy and they are worried the data collected could be misused.
Mayoral candidate Cara Spencer tweets, “In a stunning disregard for civil liberties, President Reed was the crucial 15th vote in favor of deploying spy planes through a contract that every lawyer on the board and our City Counselor took serious issue with. Our citizens deserve a real public safety plan.”
“In a stunning disregard for the cries for help from the aldermen in North St. Louis, the victims, and parents who have lost children to gun violence, Cara Spencer voted no to even looking into something that could possibly get shooters off of our streets. Until a real crime plan is presented by anyone, we need to look into utilizing all tools to reduce homicides in the City of St. Louis,” said Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.
“‘Spy planes’ are tools of war. St. Louis is NOT a war zone,” writes mayoral candidate Tishaura Jones.
Other mayoral candidates did not tweet about the passing of the bill at the time of this article’s publication.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the bill was passed by the Board of Aldermen. It has been perfected or endorsed. It needs a second vote to pass.
What does the footage look like? Here is an example from the Persistent Surveillance Systems YouTube account: