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New Program Enables Baltimore Police To Access Security Cameras At Businesses, Homes

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A watchful eye. The City of Baltimore is hoping businesses and homeowners will buy into a new program that allows city police to access their personal security cameras.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on the new grant funding the project.

The new program is an attempt by the mayor to help police solve crimes faster and get help to scenes sooner.

More cameras to fight more crime. The Baltimore City Police Department camera system has just expanded.

“Our existing Citiwatch camera serves a force multiplier, and that enables the men and women of the Baltimore Police Department to do more to protect the citizens,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said.

The Abell Foundation is providing a $53,200 grant that will allow police to access private and public security cameras at businesses– and eventually homes– to the discretion of the owner.

Right now, Baltimore City police have access to more than 550 cameras that help them keep an eye for crime. If homeowners and businesses jump on board this program, they’re at a bigger advantage.

“We’re going to know everyone that has a camera. So if something kicks off or something goes awry, we can look at a list on our database and say, ‘OK, this crime happened there. They have a camera. Let’s check it out,'” Donny Moses, a spokesman for the Baltimore City Police Department, said.

Since 2011, the camera program has contributed to more than 1,200 arrests involving robberies, assault and murder.

Last year, a fatal shooting was caught on a camera inside Yao Brothers Carryout on Greenmount Avenue. The cameras led to an arrest. However, the shooting may have been interrupted sooner if police had access to the store’s camera at all times.

“If a crime happens inside of a store, we have to go find out, ‘Well, do you have camera? Is it operational?’ We’ll already have that when this database becomes available,” Moses explained.

Stores like the 7-Eleven on Light Street, once the scene of a flash mob robbery, say having police eyes on their store at all times is extra security they would accept.

“We’ll be feeling more easier to work any shift,” Niaz Mohammed, an employee at the store, said.

People will have to register their cameras with the Baltimore Police Department database to participate.

The program was approved by the Baltimore City Board of Estimates.

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