Charleston police addresses privacy concerns over new security camera program

Charleston police addresses privacy concerns over new security camera program

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Charleston Police Department is making another push for people to register their home security cameras with the department as part of a new program.

The program was announced in late 2018.

It allows people with cameras facing the street to register the camera on the city’s website.

According to the member of Charleston Police leading this initiative, police could use the registration information to quickly locate people who may have video of a crime that happened.

“It allows us to see what’s going on,” Lt. Peter Ferrell said. “So, if there’s a crime in a given area, maybe by a certain residence or business, we can get in touch with them quickly to try to get some evidence in there."

The head of the initiative said using security cameras can often help detectives solve crimes faster by giving them more clues.

However, some people have raised concerns about how the new program might infringe on their privacy.

“It’s not only capturing the video of what’s going on outside in front of your house, but it’s also capturing the audio of everything that’s going on around," security camera owner Bill Mote said.

Mote’s camera has helped police catch a criminal in the past.

Mote said he would not have a problem joining the program, but he understood privacy concerns people might have.

But a spokesperson for Charleston police said if someone volunteers for the program, they are not required to give any video to police.

Police also would not have access to the camera or any footage saved to it.

“We also do not ask for access, nor do we want it,” Ferrell said. “This is simply, again, telling us that you have a camera and that you’re willing to cooperate and help us out.”

Because Mote has personal experience seeing how video can help police with an investigation, he said he will talk to others about possibly signing up as well.

“If that’s truly the case that’s happening, I think that we should all be willing to do that just as good stewards of our neighborhood," Mote said.

If you have a camera and would like to register it with the department, you can do so on the city’s website.

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