Finding Cameras to Help

CommunityCam--a free website open to anyone with Internet access--allows victims of crime to check for nearby surveillance cameras that may have recorded an incident.

The project by VideoSurveillance.com is a free crowdsourced security camera map that creates consumer benefit in the network of privately placed cameras. The concept, initially introduced in other major U.S. cities such as Portland to provide local citizens and law enforcement with an innovative tool to anticipate, prevent, and solve street crime, has now been implemented in San Francisco, California.

If an individual identifies a camera near the location of the crime, a report can be made to alert local law enforcement.

"We've been very pleased with the positive response we've received in cities like Portland to CommunityCam, and are thrilled to be rolling the crime-solving resource out in San Francisco," said Josh Daniels, president and founder of VideoSurveillance.com. "Our hope is that CommunityCam will become a critical tool for local law enforcement and empower citizens to take part in solving and preventing crime in their communities."

CommunityCam users have plotted the location of more than 1,000 cameras in the greater San Francisco area to date, and over 5,000 in the U.S. overall. Districts that have been most heavily populated include Downtown/Financial District, Northbeach/Chinatown/Wharf, Marina, Sunset, Richmond, Soma/South Beach, Haight/Western Addition and Mission/Castro.

San Francisco joins other progressive cities, including Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland and Seattle, to help create safer communities. Citizens of these cities have adopted this easy-to-use crowdsourcing tool to map camera locations, including businesses, schools, or any camera visible from public property. CommunityCam is intended to benefit a broad number of people, including cyclists, runners, and walkers, who are vulnerable to hit-and-run accidents. CommunityCam gives these groups the power to know where cameras are located so they can plan safer, monitored routes in and around the city.
 

 
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Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)

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