GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The Golden Valley Police Department, like others across the country, has noticed a surge in the prevalence of home video surveillance cameras.
"We realized more and more people were getting surveillance systems, Ring doorbells, anything that might capture video that might be helpful in an investigation," said Joanne Paul, a crime analyst for the department.
So the department launched a program called "CommunityCAM." Homeowners and businesses are asked to register their surveillance cameras online. That information is then plotted on a map, showing where cameras are located throughout the city.
"If we've had a crime occur in an area, your video might capture the suspects, a vehicle. It also could do the opposite. It could rule somebody out," Paul said. "[The map] will quickly tell us if we might have somebody we could go to directly to get that information ... [we're able to] see at a quick glance where we have cameras."
Paul says registering with the program doesn't mean you're giving investigators access to your camera. She says they still have to ask for your permission to see your video.
"We would just reach out to that homeowner that had registered and say, 'Can you check to see if you have anything, and if you do, would you be willing to provide it for us?'" she said. "You're not giving us access to go into your system. You're not required to do it. You're just letting us know, 'Hey. Maybe I can help.'"
Paul says about 140 homes and businesses are currently registered.
The CommunityCAM program is not a partnership with Ring.
Amazon, which owns Ring, has come under some scrutiny for its partnerships with law enforcement. A few weeks ago the company updated the Ring app to let customers opt out of receiving notifications from police departments who are looking for footage to help solve a crime.