Bensalem Police Deploy Drones to Combat Retail Theft with Remarkable Success

The Bensalem Police Department in Pennsylvania uses crime-fighting drones to track and apprehend shoplifting suspects, achieving a 62% clearance rate. The drones, equipped with cameras, can locate suspects within two minutes and provide real-time footage to law enforcement.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Bensalem Police Deploy Drones to Combat Retail Theft with Remarkable Success

Bensalem Police Deploy Drones to Combat Retail Theft with Remarkable Success

In a groundbreaking effort to combat retail theft, the Bensalem Police Department in Pennsylvania has successfully utilized crime-fighting drones to track and apprehend suspects. The department, located just 30 minutes northeast of Philadelphia, has achieved a remarkable 62% clearance rate, significantly higher than the national average.

The Bensalem Secure Task Force, a collaborative effort between law enforcement and the business community, aims to reduce theft with practical and sustainable solutions. In 2020, the county reported nearly 900 retail thefts, a 50% increase from 2019. The police department's "small fleet" of drones can be dispatched and locate suspects within two minutes, thanks to their ability to fly over traffic patterns and traditional road routes.

Why this matters: The innovative use of drones in law enforcement has the potential to revolutionize crime-fighting strategies, providing a cost-effective and efficient way to track and apprehend suspects. As retail theft continues to rise, the adoption of drone technology by police departments could have a significant impact on reducing crime rates and improving public safety.

When a shoplifting incident is reported, a drone equipped with a camera is immediately dispatched to search for and track the suspect. The drone operator provides real-time footage and video recording to law enforcement, allowing them to apprehend the perpetrator. In one instance, a drone was used to track a suspect who stole a bicycle, leading to an arrest less than a mile from the scene of the crime.

Detective Glenn Vandegrift, who leads the task force, emphasized the department's commitment to combating retail theft. "Our goal is to bring our business community together in collaboration with law enforcement to reduce theft with practical and sustainable solutions," he stated. "It doesn't matter if it's $20 or $200, we're coming at you just as hard." Vandegrift believes the success of his department should inspire other departments to invest in drone technology.

The Bensalem Police Department has released footage showcasing the drones in action. In one notable example, a suspect was caught on drone footage looking over his shoulder as he ran through a parking lot before crossing a road, eventually leading to his arrest. Another suspect was seen being arrested on drone footage, with Vandegrift stating, "This guy would have been able to get away if the drone was not involved."

The innovative use of drones by the Bensalem Police Department has proven highly effective in combating retail theft, with a 62% clearance rate that far exceeds the national average. The department's success in tracking and apprehending suspects within minutes using drone technology could pave the way for other law enforcement agencies to adopt similar strategies in the future.

Key Takeaways

  • Bensalem Police Department uses drones to combat retail theft with 62% clearance rate.
  • Drones track and apprehend suspects within 2 minutes, flying over traffic patterns.
  • Innovative use of drones provides cost-effective and efficient crime-fighting strategy.
  • Drones equipped with cameras provide real-time footage to law enforcement for arrests.
  • Department's success could pave the way for other agencies to adopt similar strategies.