Have you installed a smart device in your home? Perhaps you have a smart thermostat to save energy, a smart doorbell for enhanced security, or a smart speaker to enjoy your favorite tunes. These technologies can make individuals’ lives better, and the same can be done for cities. Smart cities use intelligent technology, connected devices and instantaneous data to solve real-world problems.
This month Edgewater became an allied member of the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance. We joined 29 other jurisdictions committed to building smart communities. Because we are a small community, it is important for us to have shared resources and partners in innovation and technology programs. Being part of this collaborative ecosystem will allow Edgewater to implement more smart cities best practices.
The city has already seen success in implementing smart technology. Many will remember back in 2020 when we implemented automated meter reading sensors on water meters. This investment has eliminated human error and allowed us to gather consistent, accurate readings. It also increased privacy, with staff no longer needing to access private property for readings. This smart technology allows our city staff to do more with less.
This month, the city started using a smart technology to combat the 13 percent increase in auto theft that Edgewater saw in 2022. The Edgewater Police Department, in partnership with Flock Safety, is now using license plate recognition technology to help solve crimes. This technology decreases the occurrence of auto theft and increases the likelihood of vehicle recovery when it does occur. Castle Rock was the first city in the area to implement this technology, in 2020. Auto thefts there went down by 25 percent in its first year, the same year that auto theft was rising sharply across the metro area.
This technology, known as automated license plate reader or ALPR, gathers objective evidence and facts about vehicles and alerts police of wanted vehicles. It is also designed to only collect data it needs and none it does not. It does not use facial recognition, track personally identifiable information, or store data after 30 days. It is also not used for traffic enforcement.
What’s next? City staff is looking into smart technologies to better track air quality at our schools and weather monitoring for Public Works. In June, city council will get the opportunity to tour a Smart Cities lab and discuss a smart cities strategy at our retreat. For more information on the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, visit its website at coloradosmart.city.
Contact Edgewater Mayor John Beltrone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-643-6077.