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Local Cameras To Help Bristol Police Keep City Safe

Local Cameras To Help Bristol Police Keep City Safe

Neighborhood Watches may have taken on a new meaning if the Bristol Police get what they want. Announcing the Community Watch Team (CWT), the town of Bristol Police Department is asking residents and businesses to register their personal external video surveillance systems with them.

The department wants to utilize information that may have been caught on the growing number of homes with video surveillance. Per the announcement, they believe that “video surveillance is a valuable tool in the detection, identification, apprehension and conviction of criminals who plague our City with crime.”

Not quite Orwellian in scope, the CWT is a completely voluntary registry, and the Bristol Police Department will not be able to access your cameras at will. The procedure involves registering a camera, and if there is a crime committed within the purview of that camera, the police then contact the participant requesting to view the camera footage. They are careful to note that “in accordance with CT Law, all personal information collected will remain confidential.”

How it works back to top

To register, you fill out a form notifying the department where the camera is located, and whether that faces the roadway, whether it covers a residence or business, and if the system is already monitored by a security company. In addition they will need to know when the camera records and how long that information is retained. You can request a sticker advertising your partnership.

Like body cameras, having a video record is tantamount to having an official record of a crime whereas testimony can be considered flawed. The hope on the part of the Police Department is that this will expedite the solving of committing crimes, or even preventing certain crimes.

Berlin had implemented a similar program earlier in the year, but it’s still too soon to say if the benefits of a registry of videos had the intended effects. Programs like this one are being started all across the country, in places like Fort Worth and Berkeley, in response to the growing popularity of this technology.

Speaking to the Bristol Press, Police Chief Brian Gould said that he’s “always exploring new initiatives and new ways to partner with the community.” And with a program like this, participants might have the ability to say they helped solve a crime, and keep the town safe.

Those interested in the program can sign up on the police department’s website, there is a link to the Community Watch Team underneath the Police Help Center. Simply fill out the registration form linked at the bottom of that page.