Editorial

Security camera database latest innovation for PD

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Cape Girardeau Police Department continues adding innovation to its crime-fighting toolbox.

On the heels of hiring a crime data analyst, the department more recently announced it is partnering with businesses and homeowners to create a security camera database.

It works like this: If you're a business or property owner who has security cameras, you have the opportunity to become a part of a camera database, so the police department knows where they can turn when a crime has occurred.

"It's just a way for us as a department to know which businesses and residences have exterior security cameras," said Cape Girardeau Police crime analyst Cpl. Ryan Droege. "That way, when an incident occurs, we can quickly and easily see who in the area has security cameras that may aid our investigation. We then contact the owner of the camera to inquire about the video."

Becoming part of the database does not give police automatic access to footage; rather, it informs police where the cameras are so that they can more quickly identify and contact business owners who might be able to help in an investigation. It's for reference, not for footage.

Those who have installed cameras have done so for security. There is, of course, a deterrent factor; the hope is that the appearance of a camera will prevent crimes such as theft and vandalism. But the more tangible purpose for security cameras is to catch criminals in the act. It's reasonable to think that most who install cameras would want to be a part of the database and cooperate with police in their investigations.

This is a common sense step, and another example of a public-private partnership between police and community. We encourage business and property owners to join the database and help police catch those who would damage or steal property, or worse.

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