You may have security cameras to protect your home or business but they can also play a pivotal role for crimes committed nearby or even incidents that take place elsewhere.
And you can join a voluntary register that lets police know you have surveillance cameras in the event a crime happened nearby to save them crucial time in knocking door to door to find out if anyone has cameras that might provide footage to help them in investigations.
Manteca Police in recent years have used surveillance footage from a camera near the front door of a home to arrest a teen responsible for the severe beating of an elderly man across the street — the footage also helped the district attorney to successfully prosecute the suspect — as well as track a vehicle that left the scene of a felony that eventually lead to the arrest of the responsible party.
That’s just two examples how silent witnesses that are in place 24/7 in the form of surveillance cameras have helped police solve crimes and arrest responsible parties.
So far there are nearly 70 homeowners who have registered the fact they have surveillance cameras with Manteca Police. The department’s Camera Registry Network helps Manteca Police become more effective – and efficient — chasing down criminals.
Residents can register their surveillance cameras via the city’s secured website.
Then when a crime occurs officers can access a data base that will pop up information on where cameras may be located that will help them with their follow up investigations in a bid to find the responsible parties that commit crimes.
Officers now have to do a time consuming door-to-door canvas to try and locate people who may have video surveillance footage that may be of help. With the registry network they will be able to know where to go to make inquiries about whether the private video systems captured footage associated with the incident they are investigating. If any video evidence is found, the resident or business owner can make arrangements with the officer so they can retrieve the video.
The time it saves can be significant. That would allow possible faster conclusions to cases and free up officers and support personnel to tackle additional crime issues.
The registry is strictly on a volunteer basis. The Manteca Police Department will not have access to the video systems.
There are a few basic questions found on the registration form at www.ci.manteca.ca.us/Police/CRN. It includes basic contact information and nearest cross street.
There are 13 boxes to check or not regarding camera systems. They touch on specifications such as high definition or standard definition, color or black and white and what views the camera captures such as front, rear, side views or adjacent streets and parking areas.
“Video footage we have obtained from citizens have helped us solve crimes and are an important tool in the investigation process,” Police Chief Jodie Estarziau said.
It is part of an ongoing effort by the department to work even closer with the community to solve and prevent crimes.
Estarziau also noted that home security systems such as those tied to a smartphone app that alerts homeowners or business owners of suspicious activity when they are away have been used in the past to direct police officers to burglaries in progress that have ended with arrests.
The following is a short Q&A about the Camera Registry Network:
Is a high definition or certain camera system required to be part of the Camera Registry Network?
No, but the higher the resolution is better. High definition does provide a better quality video.
Will the police department inspect my camera system?
No, the Manteca Police Department will not contact you unless your video cameras may have recorded something related to an incident they are investigating.
How long am I required to be part of the Camera Registry Network once I register?
There is no requirement to remain in the Camera Registry Network. You can choose to remove your information at any time.
Who will have access to my information once I am registered?
Your information will remain confidential and only officers of the Manteca Police Department will have access.
As for tips about camera systems and where to place them, Manteca Police note the following:
Important Camera Features: IP is preferred over analog. Higher resolution yields better image. Thirty day storage is recommended. Consider lighting when placing cameras.
Camera location and orientation, residential: At least one pointing toward the street. Front porch. Side gate. Rear door/yard.
Camera location and orientation, business: All entrance/exit points. Front desk to include cashier positions as well as the corners of the building to help capture parking lots/driveways. Cameras at the rear of buildings will help capture loading area/parking lots. Consider lighting when placing cameras. Consider obstructions
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