It’s been a little over a month since the Santa Maria Police Department rolled out its citywide neighborhood watch program and they’re looking for more volunteers.
The program is a network of privately-owned surveillance systems that are registered with the police department, so officers can check cameras in a specific area after a crime.
Ron Stevens’ surveillance system is something he feels helps protect not only himself but the whole neighborhood.
“I think it makes the whole neighborhood secure because as you can see I have one camera facing down this way and one camera facing the other way, so whichever way people come, we have full view of everything,” Stevens said.
Now the Santa Maria Police Department will have a view as well.
Stevens has opted in to join the police department’s home security registry.
“I was thinking it’s a good tool for the community to help the police because a lot of things happen at night when nobody’s around or when everyone’s at work and the cameras will pick up everything,” he said.
Once home or business owners sign up for this registry, SMPD will have a point of reference of places to check if they believe surveillance video may have caught something that will help with an investigation.
However, police say people have been slow to sign up.
“I am satisfied with our process so far. It is slow, it takes time, and it gives us the opportunity to look at what we have and see what improvements we can make,” said Sgt. Eligio Lara, Santa Maria Police Department.
Sgt. Lara says between 10 and 15 people have signed up so far. They now hope to ease fears people may have about police accessing their surveillance cameras. They say officers will not be able to view your video at any time without your permission.
“(By) giving the public information of what we’re trying to do, it’s not an invasion of privacy, it’s just a tool. I think they are going to start coming out more, contacting us and we’re going to start receiving more of those forms filled out,” Sgt. Lara said.
There are sign up sheets for this registry on the City of Santa Maria’s website. If you have any questions about this program, you’re asked to call the police department.
Santa Maria police start initiative to register home security cameras