Jeannette police hope security camera registry will help solve crimes
Jeannette police want residents and businesses that have security cameras to consider giving investigators access to the footage in the event of a crime nearby.
Police Chief Shannon Binda said his department is creating a database of available security cameras in the city. But that doesn’t mean residents or businesses will be required to provide police with images or video. The program is voluntary, he said.
“They have the option on whether or not they want us to view them,” he said.
Anyone who wants to register can fill out a form online. Information gathered includes a street address, the number of cameras available, areas covered by the cameras, the video retention period and other information.
That information will help police quickly locate cameras around the city that may have captured something relevant to an investigation.
“It cuts down our time of trying to find out who has cameras in the area,” Binda said.
“Bad guys don’t get that information,” Binda said. “We’re the only ones that get that information to help us investigate certain crimes in the area.”
Jeannette police have installed more than a dozen surveillance cameras on Clay Avenue in the past year. Officers have immediate access to footage through monitors in the station. The cameras can reach a couple blocks onto the side streets and they have the capability to zoom in on license plates.
Police across the country have created similar databases in their communities, according to security research website Safety.com. An article on the website details pros and cons of permitting police access to surveillance footage, such as how video cameras deter crime and help with prosecutions but also that people need to consider what kind of access is required through a police partnership program.
About 400 police departments across the country, including at least two in Allegheny County, have partnered with doorbell-camera company Ring. Through the partnership, police have access to home security footage and they can alert people living in a specific area of a crime or safety concern, as well as seek out information. Binda said he hopes to establish such a partnership in Jeannette.
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .