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Council to Discuss Proposed Camera Subsidy Program

At tonight’s meeting, the City Council will discuss a proposal about a rebate program to help residents buy security cameras on their homes and thus to help reduce crime in the neighborhood.

Staff presented options for security system rebate programs to Mayor and Council at Worksessions on 09/04/2018 and 12/04/2018. Some communities across the Country have initiated security camera registration and incentive programs. These programs are designed to encourage residents to share video evidence to police investigators after a crime has occurred.

The list includes District of Columbia, Addison, Illinois; Anne Arundel, Maryland; Auburn Hills, Michigan; Birmingham, Alabama; and Bloomfield, New Jersey, Many other residents (including NCPCA) made similar requests for the residential camera subsidy program. It’s an inexpensive incentive program to help improve public safety in our neighborhoods. Please see below some examples below:

Most of the programs reviewed by staff provide for a registry where residents and businesses may add their addresses to the list of private security camera systems from which the police may request video data. Some communities network these systems for real-time police access. A few offer grants or rebates to residents and businesses to help defray the cost of these systems.

The County Council considered and declined to adopt a program of tax rebates for residential security camera systems. Staff checked to see if PGPD is considering such programs. They are not. Since it is the standard investigative practice to canvass an area after a crime and ask owners of nearby cameras to provide any relevant video, a registry may not be necessary to identify possible security camera evidence for a criminal investigation.

Staff had recommended a pilot project to offer rewards to businesses and residents who provide video or photographic evidence leading to the arrest or apprehension of crime suspects. Residents have often been responsive to police investigations and have shared their home security video with police to solve and prevent crime in their neighborhoods.

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