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Pismo Beach asks residents to register security cameras with police

Posted at 5:47 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 22:09:18-04

Businesses and homeowners in Pismo Beach are now being asked to register their security cameras.

It's the neighborhood watch for the 21st century.

"I have the ring camera connected to my patio over here that gives us a good shot of Longview and cars coming up and down and a little bit of the corner here, the intersection," said Bryan Galvan of Pismo Heights.

Galvan is one of the first Pismo Beach residents to register his ring cameras with Pismo Beach Police after the department launched the community camera partnership program just this week.

"If something were to happen, the police would contact me and say, 'Hey Bryan, can we snag some footage if you got it?' 'I'll see what I got.' And if it helps them out, that's great."

Camera registry programs are growing rapidly across the country.

The San Luis Obispo and Santa Maria police departments were the first on the Central Coast to adopt the program back in 2018.

Pismo Beach Police are now the latest onboard and in just two days, so far, they have 10 residents who've registered including Galvan.

"I live on a fairly busy thoroughfare and so the cameras do have an advantage of directing their way towards that thoroughfare. If anything were to go awry, you can see," Galvan explained.

Police say the goal of the voluntary program is to help them when they're trying to nab a criminal.

They can refer to their internal map of where cameras are located so they can prioritize where to go first during an investigation.

"It will help with officers not having to go door-to-door during the investigative process," said Detective Sergeant Anthony Hernandez. "That is usually time-consuming. Sometimes it's in the middle of the night."

The city or the police department do not have direct access to any surveillance footage.

But critics we've spoken with previously say they don't want to register because they don't want to be subpoenaed in future cases.

Meanwhile, Det. Sgt. Hernandez says the program could have helped during the recent increase of catalytic converter thefts across the county.

"This could allow us to go back to those cameras. It allows us to reach out to the neighborhood collectively as opposed to go knocking on doors, 'Hey, do you have anything from this time period?'" Det. Sgt. Hernandez explained.

Police say it's an invaluable investigative tool with some in the community already volunteering to help.

"The ring camera gives me my own level of security but the program itself may make others feel more secure knowing that we're looking out for them," Galvan added.

Registering your camera takes just a couple of minutes and you can do it online.