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Policing Technology

This project tracks policing technology adoption in California across a variety of key technologies: Body Worn Cameras, Automated License Plate Readers, Crime Mapping, Nixle Alerts, Gunshot Detection, Civilian Camera Registry, Drones, and Ring/Neighbors Partnership. The interactive map below displays the adoption of these technologies by city police departments. Click on the name of each technology to access an interactive dashboard that displays correlations between technology adoption, median household income, and the violent crime rate in each city.

Description of Key Technologies

A security camera mounted on the corner of a white corrugated metal building against a clear blue sky.
Civilian Camera Registry: Voluntary civilian and business video-sharing program with police departments via cameras on personal property.
Multiple traffic surveillance cameras mounted on a green traffic light pole, with buildings and trees visible in the background.
Automatic License Plate Readers: Cameras attached at specific locations or police cars that photograph drivers’ license plates (photo by Mike Katz-Lacabe).
Close-up view of a RING doorbell camera with two lenses and a button, mounted on a wall.
Ring/Neighbors Partnership: Amazon network of doorbell cameras and additional surveillance technology that shares information with police.
A map of the San Francisco Bay Area displaying various crime incident markers across different locations in the region.
Crime Mapping: The display of geo-located crime data on vendor websites; police departments automatically supply vendors with crime data
A Nixle alert from the Berkeley Police Department dated Thursday, May 14th, 2020, at 4:59 p.m. PDT, indicating that police activity on the 3000 block of San Pablo Avenue has concluded. The message is marked as expired.
Nixle Alerts: Public safety messages sent via text to opt-in participants, including violent crime and missing persons alerts
A police officer holding a smartphone displaying the BodyWorn app interface, with the text 'BodyWorn The Ultimate Witness' prominently shown on the screen.
Body Worn Cameras: Video cameras worn by police officers to record citizen interactions, used to increase transparency.

Policing Technology Summary Map

Methodology: We collected unique data on technology adoption from publicly available websites from Nixle, Gunshot Detection (Shotspotter), and crime mapping (,, We used the Atlas of Surveillance Data to compile adoption for the remaining technologies. This data was updated in March 2021, and collected at the city and county level for police departments in California. We use county-level adoption data for cities that contract services to county sheriffs’ departments, and police department data otherwise.