WEST LAMPETER, Pa. (WHTM) — Using surveillance cameras to solve crimes is nothing new for the West Lampeter Police Department. They are on almost every street and police think home surveillance cameras could help them break the next big case.
“All we’re doing is asking the public to be the eyes and ears, something that we’ve done forever. Police is the public and the public is the police, Sir Robert Peel. It is no different here,” West Lampeter Township Police Chief, Brian Wiczkowski said.
The West Lampeter Township Police Department wants residents to participate in a new, voluntary camera registry program. That means people let police know where they live and how to contact them in case their cameras catch a crime. The goal of the program is intended to build community-police trust.
“instead of going door to door and knocking and saying ‘hey do you have a camera’ we just come back and look at a map,” Chief Wiczkowski said. “So it can save us time and it can save the public some time as well. Some of these cases are time-sensitive especially when we’re looking for somebody.”
It is not a live feed of someone’s surveillance camera. Instead, the information allows for officers to review a map to see where cameras are located when investigating a crime.
However, as law enforcement, businesses and homeowners increasingly depend on surveillance cameras for their own security, cybersecurity experts say it could lead to significant privacy concerns.
A sentiment shared by Professor of Computer Science at Elizabethtown College, Dr. Peilong Li. “FBI and police stations could utilize this technology to capture criminals, however for a regular person we don’t want to be exposed under this sky net,” Dr. Li said.
The West Lampeter Township Police Department says despite privacy concerns, it only intends on using the information as an investigative tool.
The registry is free and the data and location of the cameras can only be seen by law enforcement. For more information, you can visit the link here.