The new camera registration system not only helps the prosecution of criminals but aligns with community outreach.
Whether catching up over a cup of joe or hosting a blood drive, the Berlin Police Department has been cultivating efforts to bridge cops with the community.
Recently, officers have furthered this ongoing outreach by including the public in combating crime. In September, the department partnered with Ring, national security software aimed to reduce crimes in local neighborhoods, in establishing a camera registration system for businesses and residents who own security cameras.
Under this program, community members can register their personal surveillance systems by completing a form.
The Berlin Police Department is starting the system on the heels of neighboring towns, such as Voorhees, Evesham and Winslow townships, whose police departments have also implemented similar programs.
“It basically shows the public, the residents and the business owners, that we want to have the best type of relationship we can,” Sgt. Ryan Marrlow said. “We have a very proactive town that likes to be involved with us.”
After the locations are logged into a records management system, the force can reach out to registrants if a crime took place in an area where their particular cameras might have captured evidence, as police do not have direct access to the footage. The information from the footage could help in the apprehension and prosecution of criminals.
A vital component for registration candidacy is a system’s ability to actually record, as opposed to solely streaming a live feed. Security camera owners must also indicate the duration of time recordings are saved, as a crime may not be reported until days or weeks after the incident.
“Crime evolves and the way we solve crime needs to evolve,” Marrlow said. “Because a camera is only as good as what it’s going to capture.”
Since its inception two months ago, Marrlow says the community has been responsive. Six cameras have been registered. Just in the past week, the department received two requests.
Camera registration forms can be obtained by e-mailing Marrlow at email@example.com. Forms can then be returned via email to Marrlow. They can also be directly delivered or mailed to the station, located at 59 S. White Horse Pike.
Naturally, with more eyes and ears on the street, the camera registration system could potentially reduce crime across the borough.
“Whatever tool we can use to solve a case, we use it,” Marlow said. “If this program runs for five years and we only solve one crime based off of it, that’s one camera that did its job.”