Niles Police has launched a video surveillance registration program. Police said it will aim to promote collaboration with businesses and homeowners.
“We routinely investigate crimes,” said Robert Tornabene, public information officer for the Niles Police Department. “One of the things we always look to are surveillance cameras, trying to identify if that camera is actually capturing things like crime.”
Those interested can register a business or personal surveillance camera system by visiting vniles.com.
Tornabene said members of the police department have noted it was difficult at times to get ahold of people or determine if any crime was captured on camera.
“Because we couldn’t get the residents’ attention or we didn’t know who the owner was of the camera, we decided it might be beneficial—that if we created this registration program, we would have an easy, quick way of contacting whoever was in charge of the cameras,” he said “They can, in turn, then review. If we needed to, they can share the images with us.”
The registration information is stored in an in-house database and placed into a geo-map system.
“When the officer is doing the investigation for an incident, they can bring up an internal map to look at the location that they’re at, to see how many cameras are registered,” Tornabene said.
The system generates the contact information for the owner of a camera to allow contact between Niles Police and citizens.
“We could then, in turn, call them and ask them if they have information that was captured on the camera pertaining to crime,” Tornabene said.
Police said the program does not enable access to the surveillance camera system without the permission of residents and business owners.
“We’re not asking for access whatsoever,” Tornabene said.
Tornabene said with the program, “it’s much easier to get ahold of the owner of the camera this way.”
“Because most of these systems are digital, they, in turn, can share that imagery relatively quickly—sometimes through email, sometimes by providing a download link,” Tornabene said.
Police said about 50 homes and another 10 to 15 businesses are currently registered in the village of Niles. Police said there is no cost to participate in the program.