A push is underway in Niagara County to get more people involved in sharing their technology to fight crime.
District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek is urging businesses and residents in Niagara County to register their security cameras with law enforcement. Wojtaszek says, Operation SAFECAM allows police quick and easy access to video footage in areas where a crime may occur.
"So, instead of having to do all the leg work that's typically necessary to find where the cameras are, who owns the cameras, who can give access to the cameras, and provide kind of unnecessary delay in the investigation." Wojtaszek said, catching a suspect committing a crime on video is an incredible way to prosecute cases.
"We had a case, People versus Denzel Lewis, we got amazing camera footage from the Coastal gas station, and a private home owner in the area that provided us that footage. And we got good results without having to go to trial on that case because it was, in my opinion, a slam dunk because of that video footage," Wojtaszek said.
The program is free and confidential.
"The only people who have access to knowing that you have the camera and your phone number is our Niagara Intelligence Center which is the police department. And so we're not going to call you on a regular basis. We're just going to call if a crime happened right in front of your business, or right in front of your home, and we think we might be able to get some useful footage for a prosecution," Wojtaszek said.
Along with helping to solve cases, the DA said, Operation SAFECAM sends a message to criminals that law enforcement is watching and Niagara County is a bad environment to operate in.