AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB)- Police departments across Western New York are asking residents and businesses to help solve crimes. The Amherst, Buffalo, Cheektowaga and Niagara Falls Police Departments all have programs to register private surveillance cameras with their departments.
Buffalo Police told News 4 the city’s SafeCam program helped officers identify the SUV involved in a fatal hit and run on Bailey Ave. in May. Surveillance video captured the moment 60 year old Arthur Redrick was hit crossing the road.
“It allowed us to put out a pickup for the vehicle and to show the accident and the manner in which it happened,” said Lt. Jeff Rinaldo.
He told News 4 they had the vehicle in custody within a week. Police made an arrest in the case on Saturday.
The SafeCam program was launched about a year and a half ago.
“It’s designed to allow businesses and residents to register their private surveillance systems with the city so in the event a crime is committed in a particular area, detectives can quickly identify and locate possible video surveillance evidence,” said Lt. Rinaldo.
According to the registration page, there are a few ground rules to the program. Any video collected by BPD can be used as evidence at any stage of a criminal proceeding, it’s reserved for official use, and you cannot release video or pictures to the media without consulting BPD, among other rules.
We’re told there are more than 500 cameras registered with the city.
A similar program launched a few years ago in Amerst.
Field Intelligence Officer Craig Johnson said they are looking for businesses and residents to sign up for AmCam.
Their program compiles a list of community members with surveillance cameras, who can be contacted in the event of a crime.
“If we have an incident in a neighborhood, along a street, and we need some quick access to see who has cameras we can access quickly,” said Johnson.
He told News 4 they aren’t looking to access cameras remotely.
“We’re not looking for passwords or user names or anything like that,” said Johnson.
He said if there’s a crime, officers would call or e-mail the owner of the camera and ask if they caught anything that could help an investigation. It helps the police department access video much more quickly than if the program didn’t exist.
“It may take a few days to actually come to your house or come to your business and some of the systems only store data for a short period of time so we may actually miss downloading very important images,” said Johnson.
He said the AmCam program also creates a community partnership.
“They’re going to want to help us, they’re going to want to look at their cameras, they’re going to want to help find any information for us that’s useful,” said Johnson.
If you would like to register your camera with the Amherst Police Department, click here.
If you would like to register your camera with the Buffalo Police Department, click here.