Windsor police want to know if you have a security camera
Windsor police have started a voluntary online registry
If you have a security camera, Windsor police want to know. They have started an online registry where people and businesses can sign up to let police know they have cameras.
Police say it cuts down on a lot of unnecessary leg work when canvassing for surveillance footage in an investigation.
"This is a completely voluntary registry and it does not give the Windsor Police Service access to anyone's cameras," said Const. Talya Natyshak of Windsor police. "We would still have to make that initial contact with that person and they would have to give us permission for any surveillance that may have been captured."
The owners of the Sweet Revenge Bake Shop on Erie Street East have security cameras and are in favour of participating.
"We got broken into not long ago. I think that's a great idea, helping the community, helping officers." said bakery owner Diana Elias.
Victor Dunn knows a neighbour who cooperated with police in a fire investigation, and while the cameras didn't capture anything, he is in favour of helping officers.
"I think for the police and the security of neighbourhoods, that it's a good idea," said Dunn.
Some people have expressed privacy concerns on social media but one criminology professor says there's nothing to worry about. He just sees it as a way to expedite an investigation.
"If they can minimize the time and effort involved in canvassing for video and when there's an incident pull up a map essentially of where businesses and homes that have surveillance equipment are located this is going significantly expedite the early stages of a major investigation," said Michael Arntfield, criminology professor at Western University.
But he also adds that people who provide video may be called to testify in court if the video is used in evidence.
"Most likely that would occur in very major cases, and officers would explain that to people when they are asking for that surveillance video," said Natyshak.
Natyshak says people can decide not to hand over video if they want and they can opt out of the program at any time.