San Jose City Council Approves Video Surveillance Registry

Supporters say if a crime occurs police would potentially be able to review video footage by contacting someone on the registry.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The City Council here voted unanimously this week to approve the creation of a registry that would track the city’s private surveillance cameras.

With Councilmember Sam Liccardo’s plan approved, private residences or businesses that have security cameras will be able to place their camera into a registry, voluntarily, reports.

“Our overworked police officers are stretched thin and we need to leverage the energy, the time, the commitment of our community and the resources of our community to make us safer,” Liccardo told NBC Bay Area.

He and supporters are hoping that if a crime occurs – and someone offers their security video – police would be able to review the footage by contacting someone on the registry.

Supporters point to what happened in San Jose earlier this year when surveillance video from the Levine’s Roosevelt Park home led to the arrest of a serial arsonist who had been on the loose, NBC Bay Area reports.

“Believe me, as a victim of a horrific crime of arson, I can sleep much better knowing that my modest system helped investigators identify the arsonist and bring about his arrest quickly,” said Jeff Levine, who was a victim of arson. “It gives private citizens, like myself, the opportunity to provide video evidence to the police without them having to waste precious time canvassing.”

Sacramento, Los Gatos, and New York City already have similar programs. Philadelphia police use the registry too, where police say the system has led to 200 arrests in one year.

But not everyone thinks the “high tech” eyes will solve all the city’s crime problems.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said in an E-mail to NBC Bay Area: “Registering cameras will not replace the loss of over 400 San Jose police officers. We need to bring back neighborhood police patrols and crime intervention programs that have a track record of success. Cameras won’t replace cops.”

Cortese’s sentiments were echoed by the San Jose Police Officers’ Association, which issued a news release stating the “latest proposal from City Hall falls short in addressing San Jose’s increase in violent crime and does nothing to recruit and retain police officers to respond to 911 emergencies.”

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