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Police launch community surveillance camera registry program in Santa Maria

The Santa Maria Police Department is partnering up with residents and businesses in a new safety program — part of their citywide neighborhood watch aimed at curbing and deterring crimes in Santa Maria.

The program is called “Surveillance Camera Registry Program.” It’s a new component of the SMPD’s crime prevention strategy. It allows residents and business owners to register the locations of their video surveillance systems.

The police department will not have access to the footage. Instead, this registry allows law enforcement to more easily identify the locations of video surveillance systems and contact those owners for help obtaining video evidence for criminal investigations that occur in and around different neighborhoods.

The registry is kept confidential and only members of the police department will have access to the list, according to the Santa Maria Police Department. When a crime occurs, officers and investigators can use an internal crime mapping tool to locate any registered cameras that could help in their investigation.

“As crimes occur in their respective areas, community members are not always aware that their surveillance systems may have captured information that could prove vital in a law enforcement investigation,” said a statement by SMPD. “Proactive communication and strong partnerships between the police department and all members of the community is a positive step towards a safer community.”

Registering for the program is voluntary and residents and business owners can opt out of it at any time.

“Our hope is that you will not be contacted at all! However, you will be contacted if an incident occurs in your or an adjoining neighborhood and the police department believes your surveillance system may help in an investigation,” said SMPD in a statement. “As changes or upgrades occur with the system, please keep us updated.”

Registration forms are available at the police department front desk. For additional information on the Surveillance Camera Registry Program, residents may contact Sgt. Eligio Lara at 805-928-3781 ext. 1271 or email elara@cityofsantamaria.org.

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