Neighborhood watch is getting a new meaning.
The Santa Maria Police Department is launching a new program and asking the community to register surveillance cameras with police
Surveillance cameras have been a major tool for law enforcement over the years. Now, Santa Maria Police hope to utilize more privately-owned surveillance cameras to track criminals.
It’s a strategy that proved successful last week when police say a man was shot multiple times in a Tuesday morning shooting at the corner of West Battles Road and Western Avenue.
Police later arrested four people in connection to the shooting because nearby surveillance cameras captured elements of the crime.
"During the course of that investigation and two other robbery investigations that afternoon, through the use of private security surveillance systems we were able to tie the cases together and identify a suspect vehicle," said Lt. Russ Mengel with the Santa Maria Department.
Santa Maria resident Victor Delgado lives in the neighborhood where the crime occurred. He doesn’t have security cameras yet, but plans to.
"To monitor my home, activities on my street, you can never be too sure what may or may not happen on your property so it’s just a reassurance," said Delgado.
Delgado also plans to register his cameras with the Santa Maria Police Department.
"Any way we can help law enforcement and make this city a little safe, I’m all for it," said Delgado.
Lt. Mengel says the process to register is voluntary and confidential, meaning they won’t release your information to the public. Investigators may contact you if a crime happened nearby.
"If we have a crime in the area and take a look at the registry geographically and make a phone call and email to the property owner and see if they’ll review their surveillance system to see if there’s anything captured during a certain time frame."
Santa Maria police hope the program will be in full swing by May or June of next year. They plan to conduct a trial period during December.
Those interested in registering with the police department will have to answer about eleven questions, provide contact information, and tell police what kind of surveillance cameras you have.