Fawn asking residents to voluntarily say how many have surveillance cameras | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Fawn asking residents to voluntarily say how many have surveillance cameras

Chuck Biedka
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Signs stating surveillance is in progress are seen dotting the parking lot Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019 at the Walmart in Hempfield.

The Fawn supervisors are asking residents to tell them if they own surveillance cameras.

The idea is to capture images of people dumping garbage or committing crime in the township, Township Secretary Pam Ponsart said.

Supervisors are asking camera owners to voluntarily register with the township by contacting Ponsart at the township office.

“This will provide the township with a proactive approach in viewing the footage to combat illegal dumping and crime that may be occurring in your area,” she said in a note to residents.

Supervisors Chairman David Montanari said dumping is a real problem at the Park-and-Ride off of Route 28’s Exit 14.

“Tires. Mattresses. You name it. You wouldn’t believe it,” he said.

He hopes residential surveillance cameras can make a difference.

“We’re a backwoods community,” supervisors Vice Chairman Chuck Venesky said. “We believe most of the people doing the dumping live outside the township.”

The township is also acquiring some cameras and will put them up in places that supervisors declined to specify.

“We will have signs up there to tell people that their actions are being captured on cameras,” he said.

Upper Burrell Supervisor Ross G. Walker III said knowing where privately owned surveillance cameras are located would help there, too. “We have 2,250 residents spread over miles,” he said.

“I have cameras at my place,” Walker said. “We don’t have as much of a problem with dumping as we used to. Still, knowing where cameras are located could help if it’s on a voluntary basis, he said.

Asking if surveillance cameras are at a residence or business has become a routine question for police investigating crime, West Deer police Chief Jon Lape said.

“When police are canvassing is the time for them to ask if there are surveillance cameras,” he said. “With the Ring (brand) bell technology so widespread, asking that is often the first question our officers ask.”

State police spokesman Ryan Tarkowski said the cameras can be helpful in investigations.

“Video captured by trail cameras and home surveillance can be valuable evidence for law enforcement,” he said.

When a crime occurs, troopers may ask homeowners and business owners to review footage as part of an investigation, “but I am not aware of troopers proactively asking for the location of cameras before an incident occurs,” he said.

In Dallas, police ask residents to register their exterior cameras voluntarily and can cancel at any time, according to a program web site.

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chuck at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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