If you have a home surveillance camera or a video doorbell, the San Luis Obispo Police Department is asking for your help.
In order to catch criminals in future investigations, the department is asking that you register your devices.
The San Luis Obispo Police Department is working to build a database of outdoor camera locations throughout the city.
It’s the second department on the Central Coast to launch this program.
“We wanted to get one so we could feel safer and if anything did go missing, be able to verify if someone actually took it or if you hear something outside at night,” said Ashley Hildebrand, San Luis Obispo resident.
Over the summer, a prowler was caught on camera peering into a San Luis Obispo apartment.
Back in October of 2016, San Luis Obispo police were able to arrest a man for attempted burglary after his image was captured by doorbell video.
More recently in court, it was at-home surveillance footage that led to the sentencing of an Arroyo Grande man who set fire to a home and vehicle.
“We saw the suspect pass by the house with the Ring device, cross the street and then go to the house that he evidently burned,” said San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Chris Peuvrelle.
SLOPD is now asking people with these devices to get them registered as part of a new program.
The point is to help police when they’re trying to nab a criminal.
“What is important to know is that we don’t have access to see what’s on your camera,” said Lt. Fred Mickel, San Luis Obispo Police Department. “That’s completely private. What we will know is the locations of the cameras that are registered.”
The Santa Maria Police Department launched this same program two months ago. Today, they have 50 cameras registered.
“Any officer investigating a crime or any detective can automatically know that this is where a camera is located and can prioritize going there first because we know there is for sure a camera,” said Sgt. Eligio Lara, Santa Maria Police Department.
The police departments will draft maps of where the cameras are located.
Critics we talked with say they don’t want to register because they don’t want to be subpoenaed in future cases.
But by registering, “It shows that partnership that a lot of the bad element doesn’t like to see,” Sgt. Lara said.
“If they spend time doing a neighborhood canvas looking for the surveillance video, that wastes precious time. Whereas where they know which houses have them, they can go straight there and get them and catch the perpetrators more quickly,” Peuvrelle concluded.
Registering your camera takes just one minute and you can do it online.