RCMP tapping video surveillance potential

Police looking at creating a database of surveillance cameras to help investigators

Red Deer RCMP hope to better use video surveillance in their crime fighting.

Supt. Ken Foster said he wants to create a voluntary camera registry. It would give police responding to a call a database of video surveillance cameras in the area that may have valuable evidence.

“Video surveillance is getting really good,” Foster said at the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “We get multiple emails a day of video surveillance and that’s how we’re identifying a lot of our criminals.”

If successful, the registry would save officers going door to door near crime scenes to see if cameras and useful images exist.

Medicine Hat and Surrey, B.C. have already developed similar registries.

Roxanne Smith, account executive with security company Paladin Technologies, voiced her support.

“I think it’s an excellent idea. I think it’s important to know that there are cameras out there that we can access to help the police just to be good community partners.”

Paladin has 200 patrol guards in Red Deer and they already act as eyes and ears for police if they come across anything during their patrols.

Foster said police plan to sit down in coming weeks with local security companies to see how a registry could be created.

The camera registry is only one of the many initiatives RCMP are employing in the fight against crime.

Project Pinpoint has seen officers step up checks to ensure known criminals are abiding by parole, probation or release conditions. It’s about catching criminals before they embark on their next crime.

Additional downtown patrols and employing multiple detachments through the Priority Crimes Task Force are also paying off. As well, police are working with social services, probation and parole agencies to develop a better crime picture.

Targeting city “hot spots,” identifying persons of interest, who are prone to finding themselves on the wrong side of the law, and developing a database of “prolific addresses,” locations that draw an unusually high number of calls, are also part of the police strategy.

The approach is getting results, said Foster.

Officers patrolling hot spots prevented several break and enters in progress. Since Project Pinpoint began last year the number of stolen vehicles and break and enters is down.

Foster also gave the audience a sense of how big a police commitment will be needed for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Prince George, B.C., which hosted the 2015 event, called in an additional 128 officers.

pcowley@reddeeradvocate.com

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