The Paso Robles Police Department is calling on residents and businesses to register their surveillance cameras. This is a voluntary program but one that local authorities said could help solve crimes faster.
Operation SCRAM stands for Surveillance Camera Registration and Mapping.
“The reason this is important is that often, time is of the essence and we need to find that security footage as quickly as possible,” explained Commander Tod Rehner, Paso Robles Police Department. “If we go on the website, we can basically put in the area where the incident occurred, and it'll show us all the cameras that are there and if we have that contact information, we can contact them immediately and hopefully get the video of the incident.”
It comes at a time when surveillance cameras are gaining popularity.
“I have it more often to see if I have any packages in the front porch,” said Zach Ulibarri, a resident of Paso Robles.
For businesses like SLO Sweets in Downtown Paso Robles, cameras are a must.
“Restaurants and retail open sometimes until nine in the evening and now, it’s getting darker, so it helps to know it’s safe and people can go out with their kids and walk around,” added Miranda Battenburg, owner of SLO Sweets.
The Paso Robles Police Department is asking businesses and residents to fill out a form on the city’s website.
“They can register the residence, whether it’s a doorbell camera, ring camera or surveillance camera, and they register their address, who they are, contact information and where the camera is pointing,” said Commander Rehner.
There are mixed concerns over privacy.
“No, because it’s my business and I wouldn’t want them to have access to any of that,” said Ulibarri, who said he would be willing to share video if an officer knocked on his door.
For Battenburg, it is a way to keep the community safe.
“I think it’s a good public service for the city and the county. I understand that each business has to make that decision on their own, but in terms of us, SLO Sweets, we’re happy to cooperate,” she added.
Other agencies, such as the San Luis Obispo Police Department, have implemented this system and a spokesperson says it has worked well for them in identifying suspects.
“We do not have access to the cameras, we can’t turn the cameras on and off, we can’t view through their cameras, there’s no connection whatsoever,” said Commander Rehner. “It's just basic information that this address has a camera.”
The Paso Robles Police Department is planning to have informational booths and flyers about this program at community events.