Latest stories

A camera installed on the corner of a house.

Voluntary security camera registry can help prevent crime

Outdoor security cameras on homes or businesses can help police collect evidence and solve crimes. Credit: Shutterstock


RCMP in Red Deer, Alta., are getting help from residents — and their surveillance cameras.

Last summer, the detachment launched the Community Assisted Policing Through Use of Recorded Evidence (CAPTURE) project asking residents and businesses to register their outdoor security camera locations. If there's a crime in the area, it could help with an investigation.

The voluntary program provides a database of camera locations and contact information that police can reference when necessary. Officers can access an interactive map-based program and search locations much like popular mapping apps.

"There's been a lot of interest," says S/Sgt. Jay Peden, an officer with the Red Deer RCMP detachment who led the project. "In the first six months, more than 200 people registered."

The system keeps personal information confidential and sharing video is voluntary. Police can only access footage that's provided by the owner and relevant to an investigation.

Cameras can capture people, licence plates and other information that can help with a case.

The online registry doesn't replace traditional door-knocking, but helps officers track down evidence.

"Cameras have become part of daily life and we canvass to see if anyone's cameras have captured anything," says Peden. "The CAPTURE website is another investigational tool officers can use."

The program allows residents to do their part for crime prevention.

"People in the city want to be engaged and want to make a difference and this is a way they can help out," says Supt. Gerald Grobmeier, officer in charge of the Red Deer detachment. "Every time we can get people thinking about what they can do for crime prevention, it helps with crime reduction."

The program can also help with non-criminal cases.

If a child or older person wanders from home, footage can help establish direction of travel and a timeframe.

The CAPTURE website was created by a Canadian web designer and it lives on a Canadian server. Those who register with the program can remove their information as easily as they signed up.

Date modified: