In 2014, Hinsdale Police Department in Chicago considered launching an initiative where they mark houses with surveillance cameras in order to gather additional clues while solving crimes in the region. Their effort was carried over by Danville Police Department, who recently started their own program called ‘Community Camera Program’ where they essentially built a database featuring civilian surveillance systems. When a crime happens in the vicinity, the police will contact homeowners whose camera might have recorded something valuable. So if a burglary happened in your street, then the police could call you to review the surveillance footage looking for clues about the criminal’s identity, car license and general escape direction. Both programs depend on voluntarily registration.
The Benefits of Supporting The Police
The two aforementioned initiatives can only yield long-term results. It’s common knowledge that a surveillance camera is an extremely potent criminal deterrent, but if word spreads that a given neighborhood’s cameras are utilized by the police, then this scarecrow effect is multiplied. Not to mention that any success achieved by the Community Camera Program ultimately prompts people to register their own devices, and the more cameras that are part of the database, the bigger the chance that fleeing thugs will be caught. And a good deed deserves another: if it happens that the burglarized home is yours, then you can rely on your neighbor’s cameras to find the perpetrators.
Fear of Losing Your Privacy
The initiatives of the Hinsdale and Danville Police Departments are very commendable, but the program’s effectiveness is questionable. Most people are suspicious when it comes to granting the authorities access to their home security system, especially their cameras in fear of compromising their privacy. Who knows when the cops will start spying on you using your own devices in the name of the Big Brother? It’s this attitude that greatly hinders the advance of the cooperation between the two sides.
The solution to this problem is a trustworthy negotiator, like a home security company. In cases where your contract provides access to professional monitoring service, the operator will be the one alerting the police. The monitoring personnel are under regulation and they only gain access to the security footage when an alarm is triggered. They can evaluate the robbery first hand and share the clues and relevant information with the dispatched law enforcement units. This way you can have your cake and eat it too.