Rockford Police ask public to join surveillance camera network

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford Police are looking to the public to help keep an eye on crime by volunteering their home and business surveillance cameras to help catch criminals.

The Rockford Police Department have several cameras across the city, feeding back live video from intersections to help catch crime in realtime, but now police are asking all residents to contribute their private security cameras to the new “Community Camera Network”.

“Between…commercial businesses and residential houses, a lot of people have these camera systems,” said Lt. Robert Reffett. “It’s great, having witnesses and having the public to be able to say, ‘yes, I saw this and I saw that’, but it’s entirely different when you can take a video and play it for the courts or whomever, and have them actually see what happened.”

Participation in the network is completely voluntary. Police will keep a registry of where the private cameras are located.

“When the case gets presented to the detectives to follow up on, they can pull up a map and see where the cameras are in that neighborhood, and contact those homeowners and say, ‘hey, can you check your system and see if you caught this incident?'” Reffett explained.

The City of Rockford’s Neighborhood Specialist, Barb Chidley, says more and more people are installing home security cameras and have already shown they’re willing to share footage on social media, so police say sharing with them isn’t that much more of a stretch.

“I see an awful lot of people willingly sharing video feeds from their Ring doorbells, etc., so I’m not sure that people are going to be that concerned about privacy,” Chidley said. “Particularly if they have to be asked first, to share their video.”

To find out more about the program or to register your camera, visit the Rockford Police’s Community Camera Network website.

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