San Francisco police seek help of private surveillance cameras

September 12, 2014

Giving police a new tool for investigating crime, San Jose, the Bay Area’s largest city, has approved a registry of private surveillance cameras. Currently, cops in California are looking to give police departments access to private surveillance cameras.

In this public participation approach, residents and businesses can get their cameras registered with local police departments on a voluntary basis to control crime in their area. However, police must still get permission of the camera owner or obtain a court order in order to access the footage.

San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo, who introduced the idea, stated that “the benefit of this process is to give police a ready phone number and identity of a person to contact when they really need this evidence.” The proposal was started following the arrest of an arsonist caught on the surveillance cameras of a private property owner who handed over the footage to investigators.

Registry of private surveillance cameras in San Jose will help police in solving cases

Homeowners in San Jose can register their private surveillance cameras to assist police in investigating crime. From mikecogh.

According to police departments, video footage received from similar private camera databases in cities like New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia helped in arresting 200 lawbreakers within one year.

In Philadelphia alone, the database of private security cameras, called SafeCam assisted in solving 85 crimes leading to 37 arrests within just six months of implementation.

The reliability of D.C. police on security camera videos is evident from a 15 percent increase in the number of times investigators sought video footage from surveillance cameras in 2012, as compared to the previous year.

Greater London’s Metropolitan police uses its Caught on Camera unit to publish images of suspects caught on camera and the department urges the public to help identify them.

Concerned about infringement on citizens’ rights anonymity and to move and associate freely, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) has mapped cameras watching the streets. The NYCLU has noted the presence of 2,397 cameras on the streets of Manhattan as an attempt to raise awareness about the proliferation of surveillance cameras.

However, privacy violations are less of a concern with the Bay Area program, as it is based on voluntary participation.

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Category: News, security, Surveillance, Trespassing

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