SJPD enlists community to help solve crimes with new camera registry program

Dustin Dorsey Image
Thursday, March 30, 2023
SJPD enlists community's help with new camera registry program
To help solve crimes, the San Jose Police Department is enlisting the aid of the community with its new camera registry program.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- When the crime scene tape goes up, the investigation begins. Now, to help solve these crimes, the San Jose Police Department is enlisting the aid of the community.

"The Camera Archive and Mapping program, or CAM for short, will greatly assist the San Jose Police Department finding new ways to fight crime," Crime Prevention Unit Supervisor Sandra Garcia said.

The CAM program allows people to register the locations of their personal security cameras with SJPD.

So, when a crime occurs, officers can check their camera database map on their city cellphones. And with the owner's permission, police can use the footage for evidence in their investigation.

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A similar program called S.A.F.E.R. San Jose has outfitted homes with cameras and license plate readers registered with SJPD.

One of the 300 cameras south of Bernal Road in San Jose helped lead to the arrest of a man who broke into a mail truck in 2021.

S.A.F.E.R. SJ President Issa Ajlouny says there have been many success stories.

"I think the neighbors feel safer with these cameras," Ajlouny said. "We're catching theives on a weekly basis, whether it's burglaries, there actually was a homicide, assault, whatever it is."

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Still, some worry about their privacy when it comes to police-registered cameras.

Privacy expert and Exec. Director of Secure Justice Brian Hofer says SJPD's protections in place regarding information and cancellation help ease some concerns.

But, Hofer wants camera owners to know that terms allow for residents to not share video as well.

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"Police do sometimes go exploring into areas more than they should, than they're legally allowed to," Hofer said. "And if people don't know that they have the right to say no, I can see someone, maybe, putting themselves in jeopardy or their neighbor."

SJPD assures that there are no privacy risks and hopes residents recognize the benefit this program can have.

"Nothing can replace an officer or a good witness, but the fact of the matter is, if we can leverage technology to assist and expedite criminal investigations, we feel we can reduce overall crime," SJPD Officer Steven Aponte said.

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