Real Time Crime Center fights crime, saves taxpayers money

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Real Time Crime Center is open 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Our No. 1 priority is to arrest bad guys and get them off the street before they reoffend," said Cap. Allan Rutledge with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department is doing that without ever leaving the Real Time Crime Center room.

A staff of 10, including detectives, keeps an eye on hundreds of cameras around the clock. They once caught a shooting on one the screens as it was happening.

For the first time, CMPD has set up all of its tracking technology under one roof. CMPD said the Real Time Crime Center is saving taxpayers money.

"For us to put an officer on the street is almost $90,000," Rutledge said.

Rutledge said CMPD has now cut back on patrolling every hotspot since the center's technology allows them to track crime as it happens and alert nearby law enforcement.

CMPD stated in 2013, RTCC helped with 805 with 70 percent being violent crimes and 401 arrests made.

Lt. Alex Watson said the RTCC was crucial in finding several robbery suspects back in January. Staff found an electronic ankle bracelet near the scene of the crime. Minutes later, police found the suspects hiding in this Charlotte neighborhood.

"That particular information just pinpointed him. If you took the RTCC out of the equation, we had to rely on our helicopter and K-9 units to track these individuals to that address," Watson said.

The RTCC opened in March 2013. CMPD said the Democratic National Convention paid them to buy and install this technology. When the DNC left, the equipment stayed.