Residents and businesses in Buffalo are being encouraged to participate in a new crime-fighting initiative that allows the city police department to view footage from private surveillance cameras.
The voluntary program, called Safe Cam, is meant to supplement the city's more than 210 existing cameras. It is based on a system developed in Philadelphia that's been effective in helping that city's police department make 191 arrests.
"It will literally give us the ability to blanket the city with surveillance cameras that will make the efforts of our police officer and detectives more effective in being able to process crime information and solve crimes to efficiently and more quickly," said Mayor Byron Brown.
Since Philadelphia's program was launched, police have registered 2,400 private cameras. Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda says those who decide to register have nothing to fear.
"People have to be aware that we're not going to come in and take their surveillance system from them. We'll send our evidence people there to download the video. They'll remain anonymous," Derenda said at a Thursday afternoon news conference at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
The initiative officially went live Thursday. The Albright-Knox is among the city's initial partners.
Anyone who wants to participate can do so by filling out a form at bpdny.org.