San Jose uses power of social media in crime fighting

October 29, 2010 5:55:06 PM PDT
Think of San Jose's latest crime fighting tool as a marriage between traditional neighborhood watch programs and social media tools such as Facebook and YouTube. This next generation system is called Neighborhood Central. It is designed to help neighbors work together and help police fight crime.

"This is neighborhood watch San Jose style. Its neighborhood watch Silicon Valley style and we are going to lead the nation in this technology," San Jose Police Chief Rob Davis said.

San Jose Police Department is already one of hundreds of agencies, including ABC7NEWS.COM, which use www.crimereports.com so people can get near real time information about crime in their neighborhoods.

Today, a new partner entered the mix -- Fremont-based Logitech. When someone installs one of Logitech's Alert Digital Video Security cameras at their home or in their neighborhood, they can voluntarily register the camera with the new Neighborhood Central crime prevention service.

Neighborhood Central allows people to share information with friends and neighbors to help prevent crime.

"This is really the next step in trying to get another level of involvement from the public to say, 'Hey, if you want to get involved, help coordinate your neighbors and tell us if you have a private camera that faces public property,'" the CEO of Crimereports said.

By registering the camera, police know there is one in the area. It's not a requirement and police say the camera owner only shares information and video when they choose to do so.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed applauds the collaboration. Reed says he is not concerned about privacy issues because cameras exist throughout the city.

"It allows the homeowner when something happens to not have that frustration of being helpless. They can say I've got a camera. I can get video with evidence and get it to the police and the police can do something about it," Reed said.

Logitech is donating 50 of the security camera systems to the city to put in the hands of neighborhood associations and especially those with crime hot spots. The powerful consumer systems are priced in the three hundred dollar price range, record in high definition and are motion sensitive. The outdoor version also has night vision capabilities. Davis says all of those features are very valuable as crime fighting tools.

"It's HD quality so you can see license plates, recognize faces, its motion sensitive so that you can record what matters to you," Logitech's general manager of video products Eric Kintz said.

Anyone in San Jose who is interested in obtaining one of the free cameras to help fight crime in their neighborhood can apply at alertsanjose@logitech.com. The city will be selecting who gets the devices based on several criteria including need and income.


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