Middletown police want to use your security cameras

How to register your home/business security camera

Visit the city of Middletown’s website at http://www.cityofmiddletown.org/police/camera.aspx.

Middletown police are asking homeowners and businesses for some extra help with criminal investigations by registering their privately owned surveillance or security cameras with the department.

Police say security camera footage is one of the best ways to catch crooks and convict them in court. That’s why a number of police agencies around the nation are developing local networks of homes and businesses that have security cameras. By voluntarily registering with the police department, if a camera captures evidence such as a suspicious person lurking around cars or homes, passing vehicle or an actual crime in progress, police can request the footage from the owner.

“There are a lot of cameras out there and this can be a resource that we can reach out to,” said Maj. Mark Hoffman, assistant police chief with the Middletown Division of Police. “Often a neighbor who has a security camera might not realize that they may have valuable evidence and may be able to help find the person who stole a lawn mower from their neighbor’s shed.”

Middletown police recently launched a home security registration effort and are still looking for their first homeowner or business to register. The free online registration can be done on the city’s website, http://www.cityofmiddletown.org/police/camera.aspx.

Hoffman said the registration allows police to quickly identify cameras in case a crime occurs in a particular area or neighborhood. He said even if a homeowner or business registers their camera with the department, they could still decline to turn over any requested footage to police as the program is purely voluntary.

All information given to police will be kept confidential and would only be used for official purposes pertaining to police investigations, according to the city’s website. The camera owner’s personal information would not be given out and no footage would be used without the camera owner’s permission, police said.

Hoffman said many homes and business cameras are already recording for various reasons, both on public and private property. He said he knows a resident who installed cameras to watch over his lawn ornaments because of past thefts.

Hoffman said in the past month, a person suspected of burglary was caught in the city’s East End and camera footage helped to identify him as the same suspect involved in a separate robbery elsewhere in the city. He said the camera registration program is a great example of police-community partnerships in the same line as neighborhood watch or citizens on patrol.

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