The program initiated in August by the Grandview Heights Division of Police to register private security cameras hasn't directly led to an arrest -- but officers say it still serves as a valuable crime-investigation tool.
Twenty-eight residents and businesses have signed up since the link to register was posted on the city's website Aug. 13, 2019, Grandview police officer Scott Bruney said.
"We've had a few occasions when our detectives bureau has been able to contact people on the list and take a look at video as part of a crime investigation, but we haven't yet been able to identify a suspect using surveillance video," he said.
But having the registry in place has allowed police to investigate thefts, burglaries and other crimes more efficiently, Bruney said.
"It just helps us if we know someone next door or across the street from where a crime has occurred has a security-camera system," he said. "It saves time and allows us to more quickly access the video."
The registration program is voluntary, Bruney said.
Residents and businesses with exterior-facing cameras that have recording capability can register their contact information on the city's website, grandviewheights.org.
When a crime is reported, officers typically will canvass the area, including knocking on doors to ask neighbors if they have seen anything -- or if they have a security camera that may have captured the moment when the crime occurred, Bruney said.
"Most people are cooperative when we knock on their door, but the list makes it easier to know if someone might have some video footage we can look at," he said.
Security-camera owners who sign up for the program are contacted by police via the information they provided only when it's believed their surveillance video might be useful for an investigation of a crime that has occurred at an adjacent property, Bruney said.
"We won't get access to their video without asking them first," he said.
The registration form asks residents whether their property is residential or commercial, plus their street address, name, email, phone number and the best way to contact them.
The form can be accessed at grandviewheights.org by entering "security camera" in the search box at the top of the page.
Surveillance-camera video often doesn't provide clear images of suspects or vehicles, Bruney said.
The crime also may have taken place outside the camera's view, he said.
But the video can give officers a view of the suspect and a time stamp for when the crime occurred, Bruney said.
"We can pass that video on to other police agencies and it may help them in some of their crime investigations," he said.