Candid cameras: NYC retail shops can start sharing security footage directly with NYPD under pilot

Screenshot 2024-05-16 155702
Products behind plexiglass has become a common sight at stores across the city.
File Photo by Dean Moses

New York City retail shops will soon be able to share their security footage directly with the NYPD in real-time under a new pilot that City Hall launched on Thursday.

Businesses can now sign up to join the “Connect New York” program, Mayor Eric Adams said on Thursday. Connect New York integrates the participating businesses’ security cameras directly with the NYPD, allowing police to view their security footage in real-time in a bid to combat retail theft across the five boroughs. 

Shoplifting has become a common crime in New York during the post-pandemic years, and a major political talking and action point for both Mayor Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul. In 2023, Mayor Adams rolled out the “Second Chance” program targeting recidivist shoplifters, and earlier this year as part of the state budget negotiations, Governor Hochul rolled out an action plan that increases penalties for convicted retail thieves and gives businesses tax credits to boost their security systems. 

“Retail theft hurts our businesses, our workers, our customers and our city,” Adams said in a statement. “But by allowing businesses to integrate their security cameras with their local NYPD precinct, we can gather real-time intelligence on crimes and swiftly apprehend individuals who are responsible, while creating greater efficiencies within the NYPD and involving the local community in improving quality of life.”

The technology to be used for Connect New York is called Fusus, and is developed by Axon Enterprise, which sells Tasers and body-worn cameras to local police departments.

The pilot will be available to businesses in nine precincts across the five boroughs, though those precincts are still to be determined. The expansion comes after a demonstration period that started last June in Flushing and College Point, Queens. The city is paying Axon $1.5 million to expand the pilot.

Participating businesses can choose how and when camera footage is accessible to cops, according to the mayor’s office. For example, it could be restricted to exclusively emergencies.