(Atlantic City) - The Atlantic City Police Department says it has been getting ready for the upsurge in economic activity the city has seen that included the opening of two new casinos this past summer.

Deputy Police Chief James Sarkos said that unfortunately, the 22 percent uptick in economic activity this past summer from two new casino openings brought with it more opportunities for criminal activity.

"We try to stay one step ahead of that by utilizing technology, to allow us to be more efficient and effective," he said.

One of the many innovations is a 24/7 surveillance center staffed by retired officers who monitor video cameras all over the city.

"Some of these cameras are owned by the Atlantic City Police Department. But most of the cameras are privately-owned, with businesses that have allowed us remote access into their camera system," Sarkos said.

The system is called PACT, which Sarkos said stands for "Protecting Atlantic City Together."

In addition to PACT, the department also uses a system called Mutualink, which he described as a video sharing platform. The system allows the sharing of various types of files including data files, radio transmissions and telephone conversations. Every casino in Atlantic City has Mutualink.

"If something were to occur, we can push that information out to all of the casinos in real time," Sarkos said.

For the past couple of years, Atlantic City police have been also using ShotSpotter, a system that can detect gunfire anywhere in town, even before someone calls it in. And police have just recently started using something called CrimeMapping.com, to allow citizens and visitors to see where local crimes are being committed.

"Atlantic City has its best days ahead of it. I think that we have seen a big return to the crowds that we used to see," Sarkos said.

Moving forward, Sarkos said that continued growth is inextricably linked to a safer city.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

 

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