Opinion: Home security systems can provide crucial piece of evidence for Delta police

Crowdsourcing is a powerful social activity. From fundraising for an important cause to impacting government decisions, crowdsourcing has empowered citizens in ways never seen before. And I want to use that citizen power here in Delta to help keep our communities safe.

Recently we launched the Community Watch Program. Our plan is to work with our residents to create a database of security cameras so that when something happens in a neighbourhood, we know who may have footage useful to our investigators.

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Whether it is a suspicious person knocking on doors or a vehicle used in a crime, gathering footage from residents’ home security systems can help us piece together what happened, and gather that crucial piece of evidence that links a person to a crime.

By knowing what cameras are out there, we can quickly gather information and act on a crime. I think back to the Boston Marathon bombing and all the video footage turned into police. All those people recording the finish line had important information related to the bombing. Surveillance footage captured the suspect’s movements, which ultimately became key evidence.

Here in Delta, my concern is thankfully more often related to property crime and traffic safety. But the principles remain the same: by working with the public and using video evidence, we can do our jobs better. We can serve our communities better.

We are “no call too small” which means we respond to and investigate all crime. Unfortunately, if we have no evidence or witnesses to a crime such as a theft from auto, we are limited in what we can do. But if we can obtain footage of a suspect, we can potentially identify him or her and proceed with an investigation.

Video footage means we can connect a person to multiple crimes and hold him or her accountable. We can seek court-imposed conditions that restrict them from being in an area where they commit crime.  It makes a difference to neighbourhood safety.

Delta is an amazing city, and it is our citizens that make it that way. I’ve said it before and will continue to say it: I am incredibly proud to be the police chief here and I believe that the Community Watch Program takes the relationship between the public and the Delta police to a new level.

If you want to participate in the program, you can fill out an online form at deltapolice.ca/cwp. The number and locations of your cameras will be added to our database. If an investigation is occurring in your neighbourhood, we may contact you and ask you for footage. It only takes a minute or two.

And most importantly, thank you for working with us.

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