GARFIELD - Police in Garfield are asking residents to tap into their home security cameras as part of an effort to increase security in the Bergen County town.
Luis Gomez says he installed cameras outside his house after his son's bike was stolen from the garage. But recently, when a young girl was struck by a hit-and-run driver in front of his house, police were able to use footage from the cameras to track down the driver.
This is the concept behind a new initiative aimed at adding 200 private cameras to the town's network of 20 municipal cameras.
"A lot of times, we'll have eyewitness accounts that might not be correct," says Garfield Police Department Sgt. Joe Marsh. "With a camera, there's no fighting the identification because your picture is on a screen. And there's no way to dispute that."
Under the program, anyone with a camera will be able to register it with Garfield police. The department will then create a database, including how many cameras a person has, the type of cameras and how the video is captured. Officers will then be able to access the footage immediately after a crime occurs.
Police will start building the database within a month or two, and enrollment is voluntary. Police say they will consider monitoring the private cameras from the police station, but they could run into privacy concerns.