Initiative to aid police investigations

Detective Phill Hamlin, of Cromwell, is encouraging people to register closed circuit television ...
Detective Phill Hamlin, of Cromwell, is encouraging people to register closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on their property and upload footage to help police solve crime in their neighbourhoods. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
A nationwide initiative is helping to keep our neighbourhoods safer.

Community Cam is a voluntary, not for profit community initiative where people can register closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras on their property and upload footage to help solve crime in their neighbourhood.

Community Cam allows police to quickly identify registered users in and around an area of interest — the place a crime was committed or the last known sighting of a missing person — and contact them to assist with an investigation.

The initiative was started by Auckland web developer Michelle Hohepa after a spate of car break-ins in a quiet residential street.

Ms Hohepa had the idea of getting everyone with CCTV cameras to register on a website that police could access to help solve crime.

Detective Phill Hamlin, of Cromwell, said the use of CCTV could form a important part of an investigation.

"Most major investigations now, for police, CCTV’s a huge phase of inquiry and often pays massive dividends," he said.

"[CCTV footage] often backs up what people have said, what a witness has said and may just be that little link in the chain that we need to to put everything else together."

Community Cam helped to save police valuable time as they could quickly identify if there was CCTV in the area and make contact to request to review it, Det Hamlin said.

"It’s really just trying to simplify how people, or how police recognise that there’s CCTV in existence ... and get that information to be able to review it."

CCTV owners’ details were confidential and kept secure. Only police were able to see their information.

Footage was accessed by police only if the owner chose to upload it, and it was password protected for their security.

While closed circuit television systems used to be used only by businesses, they were now more accessible to the general public, leading to an increase in people having them in place, Det Hamlin said.

"There’s now, of course, residential and doorbell cameras, all those sorts of things — they can often provide some pretty good info as well."

Det Hamlin encouraged Central Otago residents to register their CCTV cameras with Community Cam to help aid police investigations in the district.

CCTV can be registered at https://communitycam.co.nz/register.cfm

 

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