Local individuals and businesses in the Sacramento, California that have security cameras will now have the opportunity to register them with law enforcement for use in the event of a crime. PublicEngines, a civic startup focused on public safety and law enforcement partnered with county officials to set up the registry which could be a model for other municipalities.
Developed in conjunction with Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, the CrimeReports Camera Registration feature is designed to help law enforcement agencies by identifying the location of commercial and residential security cameras so that when incidents occur, law enforcement can quickly know where to turn for potentially valuable video footage.
Camera Registration is available to citizens through CrimeReports.com. To join the program by setting up an account and sharing basic information about their home and business security cameras – like location, description, and contact information. That information is private and only visible to the law enforcement agency, which can contact those individuals if a crime has occurred in the area and needs to request access to video footage.
During law enforcement events, policies forces across the country have asked local residents and businesses to help out by piecing together footage from these types of cameras before. However, the practice does raise concerns for privacy supporters. Few states have laws on the books requiring that individuals be notified that they may be on camera. Previous court rulings have suggested that individuals should not assume they have privacy in obviously public locations like on the street, or at a large sporting event. With the advent of cameras everywhere, legislatures and individuals are likely to start experimenting with how to use them,as with the registry. CivSource has previously reported on law enforcement using license plate readers for roughly the same purposes.
“The Sheriff’s Electronic Eye program has been some time in the making, and we are excited to launch it and partner with our communities to not only deter, but also solve crime going forward,” said Scott R. Jones, Sheriff of Sacramento County.