Emerging Issues in Security

Video Surveillance Program Hopes to Unify a Community Against Crime

A large-scale security camera mapping initiative in Albuquerque, New Mexico, aims to get homeowners and businesses with existing security cameras to voluntarily register them and provide local police with crime data.

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Standing outside a 7-Eleven convenience store in Albuquerque, New Mexico, local officials announce the launch of the Security Camera Analytical Network (SCAN). Mayor Richard Berry, District Attorney Raul Torrez, the Albuquerque police department, and Bernalillo County sheriff’s office are on hand to encourage participation in the joint program to create the county’s first-ever security camera map. The 7-Eleven stores are part of the new camera mapping system.

The purpose of SCAN is to have business owners and residents register information about their security cameras to assist investigation of crimes and prosecution of criminals in Bernalillo County, according to city officials. SCAN makes it easy for participants to add their camera system to the map by clicking on a link.

The program is expected to significantly reduce the time it currently takes police officers to collect security footage around a crime scene. Before initiating the mapping system, officers had to identify potential working security cameras around crime scenes, track down the owners of those cameras to ask for footage from the time and day of the crime, and then determine whether the footage they obtained could assist in their investigation.

SCAN will identify the locations of the cameras on a map that will be available only to law enforcement officials and prosecutors, official said. Police would then be able to view the whole collection of video taken within a crime area for additional details of a crime.

Law enforcement will also be able to review the security camera footage from registered cameras to gain details of crimes as they happen. The remote access allows operators at the police crime center to get real time data around the clock. The program permits law enforcement to remotely access enrolled security cameras whenever there is a call for service near a home or business. They can search the network, bring up the associated video immediately and advise officers of the situation and the proper actions to take.

“Public safety is about the whole community uniting against crime,” said Mayor Berry. “Ultimately, when we expand the amount of video evidence of criminal activities in our community and make accessing that evidence easier for our police and prosecutors, more offenders will be caught and punished, and our community will be safer.”

SCAN will also be available to other law enforcement agencies, including the Bernalillo County sheriff’s office and the New Mexico state police.

“Participating businesses and residents can help us solve crimes and prosecute offenders by sharing data they are already collecting,” said District Attorney Torrez.” So, if people in this community are willing to at least let law enforcement know that they may have some of those videos, it can go a long way toward building stronger investigations and helping us improve our outcomes in the courts.”

Participation in SCAN is voluntary.