BALTIMORE — The controversial surveillance planes circling above Baltimore proved a slight aid to the crime fight in their first three months, helping detectives make an arrest at a rate about 5 percentage points higher than normal.
These findings were made by independent researchers with the nonprofit Rand Corp. and released Friday in a preliminary report. Baltimore Police commanders said they are drawing no conclusions about the effectiveness of the planes at this time.
“This report provides an extensive review of the program’s progress, while fulfilling our commitment to transparency in sharing data on where the program is at its halfway mark,” Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a statement. “We will continue to be guided by our research partners on the effectiveness of the program and other metrics of performance.”
The so-called spy planes have been the subject of intense controversy and faced court challenges by advocates of civil liberties who call the camera-equipped planes an invasion of privacy.