SFPD’s Park Police Station is looking to area residents and businesses to help them catch criminals in the act. With the advent of cheap and accessible surveillance cameras, more property renters and owners are using them to monitor personal property or business premises than ever before. Footage from cameras like these has ranged from useful to vital in the investigation of incidents, but now SFPD is working to make these cameras part of their overall strategy.
Since these cameras often capture footage from the street or nearby areas, they can offer useful evidence in crimes that take place outside the area they’re intended to protect. Park Station wants to take advantage of these unwitting eyes by building a database of contact information for willing private video surveillance camera owners in their district (the area bordered by Geary Boulevard, Steiner, Market, Upper Market, 7th Avenue and the east end of Golden Gate Park).
“It’s just a preemptive measure” to assist with future investigations, according to Park Station Officer Brian Rodriguez. Owning a camera or having contact information in the database doesn’t involve a person in the crime or investigation any more than being a random witness to a crime on the street, but it is a unique opportunity to be a Good Samaritan if a camera accidentally catches something important.
Park Station was unaware whether other precincts were putting together similar contact lists, but it would be in keeping with SFPD’s recent efforts to build stronger digitized networks to aid in the investigative process.
District businesses and residents who operate surveillance cameras on their property are invited to contact Park Station at SFPD.Park.Station@sfgov.org or (415) 242-3000 with the camera location, approximate area of coverage, and owner or contact person’s name, phone, and/or email.