Port Coquitlam properties with video surveillance are asked to sign up for the city’s pilot closed-circuit TV (CCTV) registry, with the goal of assisting police in criminal investigations.
Launched today (May 26), it's set to provide a database of security cameras to assist in police investigations and prevent the need to canvass for video footage.
Owners, renters and managers of businesses, homes, strata communities and other buildings are encouraged to complete a city form with information about the location of their security cameras.
Participation is voluntary and police do not automatically have access to the footage. The RCMP must request the footage from owners, who retain full control over what footage is released, if any.
“This is a way for Port Coquitlam businesses, organizations and residents to partner with the City and Coquitlam RCMP in helping to improve safety in our community,” Mayor Brad West said.
“Video footage can provide important evidence when it comes to solving a crime, so the sooner we get it into the hands of police, the better.”
Through the program, the city will provide the list of registered CCTV cameras to the RCMP to help with investigations.
The RCMP will then contact the owner directly to request their footage. Owners will provide any relevant footage directly to the RCMP, at their own discretion, on a case-by-case basis.
According to the city, the footage would be hosted on a secure server and would assist in a number of areas, including:
- Saving time during criminal investigations by preventing officers from having to canvass neighbourhoods to find security footage
- Helping deter criminals if they know there is a greater chance they will be caught on camera
- Reducing the sharing of footage on social media, which the city says can interfere with police investigations and lead to individuals being wrongly accused
REGISTRY WOULD AID IN POLICE IN SOLVING CRIMES
“Registries like this have proven to be successful in helping solve crimes in Surrey, Kelowna, Red Deer and other places,” said Coun. Steve Darling, council’s designate for safety matters.
“We’ll be following best practices as we conduct the pilot, including protocols to protect privacy.”
The footage can come from any kind of CCTV, including dome, bullet, C-mount and doorbell cameras.
Information about CCTV placement, preferred video format and other details are posted at portcoquitlam.ca/cctv.
Registrants can withdraw from the program at any time.
For the first two years, the city will audit the program every six months to ensure it continues to comply with privacy law and best practices. It will be reviewed annually after that in consultation with the RCMP and registry participants.
REGISTRY WOULD PREVENT CRIMES, RCMP SAY
“We are very pleased to partner with the City of Port Coquitlam on this pilot project,” said RCMP Inspector Andrew Martin.
“Not only does it give us the opportunity to maximize the efficiency of resources through an intelligence-led model, it supports crime prevention and exemplifies partnerships for more effective policing and community safety.”