Local police eyes partnership with community, surveillance video

- In 2017, there are surveillance cameras everywhere. And we’re reminded of their presence on a near-nightly basis with news stories of crimes committed under their all-seeing eye.

Winslow Township Police Chief George Smith sees them as an untapped resource for crime-fighting, and it’s one he’d like to see energized.

“We do need the community’s help,” says Smith, adding that “As much as they need us, we need them.”

Smith has seen home security cameras work wonders. A video clip that a citizen volunteered to police last month helped Winslow’s force make an arrest on the mugging of a senior.

Now, Smith has begun a registry for Winslow, one that would allow citizens and business owners to register with the Winslow Police so that police can contact them if a crime occurs in the vicinity of a given camera.

Jay Coney has cameras set up at his home on a quiet street. He says he wants a record if strange things happen. Coney hadn’t heard of the registry yet, but he seemed game to discuss it with his wife and possibly join it.

Those wary of Big Brother should rest easy. The system would not wire users’ cameras to a central mainframe or anything of the sort, Chief Smith says. Rather, it’s a voluntary, confidential list of names and numbers that police can use to reach out and ask members to scan their video if wrongdoing occurs near them.

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