21st Century Policing - ACRE Institute


The Rise and Reach of Surveillance Technology

Sitting at the intersection of criminalization and capitalism, the use of emerging surveillance technology has become increasingly popular among police departments in the United States over the last few decades. While public knowledge is still catching up to the full extent of the tools that police use, we are quickly understanding more about this technology each day. Adopted for use as police “reforms,” sophisticated electronics and tech capabilities do not address the unchecked power and ballooning budgets of local police departments. Instead, they open the door for law enforcement to monitor communities while private companies profit from sales and contracts. As the movement to defund the police becomes impossible to ignore, replacing police officers with police cameras is called progress.

Technology is now integral to our everyday lives, but it does not have to be harmful. No matter how it’s framed, surveillance technology is a threat to the safety and security of all people, but especially to communities of color. All forms of capitalism must go, including the surveillance capitalism that feeds racial capitalism.

A Discussion on Surveillance Capitalism and Divestment

Congresswoman Cori Bush
Tracey Corder: Action Center on Race and the Economy
Alyxandra Goodwin: Action Center on Race and the Economy
Kelcey Dugan: The Community Resource Hub
Xanat Sobrevilla: Organized Communities Against Deportation
RightEus : Greenlight Black Future Coalition
Aki Younge – Data for Black Lives

Our Five Key Recommendations:

1. Defund the police and invest in community safety

2. End police surveillance data collection and sharing practices

3. End all federal funding for police surveillance technology

4. End all private funding of police departments

5. Incentivize public accountability and control of public safety

About the Authors

Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE)

The Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) is a campaign hub for organizations working at the intersection of racial justice and Wall Street accountability. We provide research and communications infrastructure and strategic support for organizations working on campaigns to win structural change by directly taking on the financial elite that are responsible for pillaging communities of color, devastating working-class communities, and harming our environment. We partner with local organizations from across the United States that are working on racial, economic, environmental, and education justice campaigns and help them connect the dots between their issues and Wall Street, so that each of the local efforts feeds into a broad national movement to hold the financial sector accountable.

The Community Resource Hub for Safety and Accountability

The Hub serves as a resource for local advocates and organizers working to address the harms of policing in the U.S. and seeking to cultivate community safety and accountability outside of the criminal legal system. The Hub is a conduit of information and assistance for local grassroots organizations across this nation and beyond.

This report was written by Jasson Perez, Alyxandra Goodwin, and Jessica Quiason of ACRE and Kelcey Duggan, Niaz Kasravi, and Philip McHarris of The Hub. Special thanks to Kendra Bozarth, Tracey Corder and Carrie Sloan for your invaluable edits.

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