Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal
When a crime occurs in Albuquerque, investigators spend a lot of time trying to determine if and where security cameras may be located in the area, as well as whom to contact about obtaining that video, and then they hope any images that may help solve the crime were not deleted or recorded over.
On Monday, the city of Albuquerque and the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced the creation of an initiative called SCAN, or Security Camera Analytical Network. The idea, explained Mayor Richard Berry, is to get the owners of existing security cameras at homes and businesses to voluntarily register their cameras and become part of a potentially large security camera map.
Police would then look at the whole collection of video taken in a crime area for suspects or details of a crime or maybe even track an escape route.
The announcement was made during a news conference held outside the 7-Eleven store at Copper and Fourth Street. Convenience stores are often the scene of armed robberies and other violent crimes. Area 7-Eleven stores are part of the new camera mapping system.
“Public safety is about the whole community uniting against crime,” said Berry. “Ultimately, when we expand the amount of video evidence of criminal activities in our community and make accessing that evidence easier for our police and prosecutors, more offenders will be caught and punished, and our community will be safer.”
District Attorney Raúl Torrez said, “Participating businesses and residents can help us solve crimes and prosecute offenders by sharing data they are already collecting. … So if people in this community are willing to at least let law enforcement know that they may have some of those videos, it can go a long way toward building stronger investigations and helping us improve our outcomes in the courts.”
SCAN will also be available to other law enforcement agencies, including the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State Police.
Homeowners and businesses can register their camera systems online at cabq.gov/scan or on the home page for the District Attorney’s Office and answer basic questions about the make and model of the system, the address of the home or business, the number of cameras in the system, picture quality resolution, retention time of the video, and contact information for the person whom police and investigators could call to review the video.
The Real Time Crime Center will search the network as calls for service come in and advise officers in the field when there are cameras near the scene of the crime. Officers will be able to see the security camera map along with contact information for the system owners, Berry said.
Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said he wanted to stress: “This is not a monitoring program. We do not monitor your cameras. It’s a networking capability and an investigative tool for our detectives and our criminal agents.”
Businesses, however, can elect to additionally have their security camera systems enrolled in a Real Time Crime Center program that allows operators there to remotely access the cameras – assuming the camera system has the capability to do that or can be retrofitted to perform that function.
There is no cost to register on the security camera map; however, the owner of a business camera system would have to bear the cost of retrofitting the system if participating in the Real Time Crime Center remote access program is desired.
The SCAN initiative was spearheaded by the Real Time Crime Center with the support of the Albuquerque Innovation Team, or ABQ i-team, a city-affiliated research and innovation team funded by a grant procured by the city. The initiative was modeled in part by a similar program used in San Francisco, i-team director Scott Darnell said.