The program creates an online database of homes and businesses with video cameras. Signing up is voluntary, and easily done at https://deltapolice.ca/cwp/
“There are a variety of situations where police might want to view video that is privately collected,” says Staff-Sgt. Dave Schaefer, who spearheaded the program. “Our officers might be looking for information to help solve a spree of thefts from vehicles, or they may be urgently trying to find a high risk missing person. This database will help provide a starting point of where public-facing video cameras in the area may be.”
Currently officers have to conduct a door-to-door canvass for each instance, and that can be a time-consuming process.
The role the public can play in assisting police with investigations has grown over the years as technology has continued to evolve. The Community Watch Program provides a mechanism for the public to proactively register, and help police solve crimes more rapidly, which could be critical in missing person or serious crime investigations.
The process was very simple and easy to navigate, says Michael O’Connor, a Delta resident who just signed up for the program.
“You never know how you might be able to help police out – it might be providing footage of someone breaking into your neighbour’s house, or maybe your cameras have a key bit of footage of someone’s tattoo that could help solve a serious crime,” says O’Connor of his rational for registering.
“We’re fortunate to have citizens who are so active in helping to keep our community safe,” says Schaefer. “We thought this program would be a good fit here in Delta.”