The RCMP will soon have access to more security cameras in downtown Kelowna, thanks to a new pilot-project to register privately owned CCTV cameras in a database.
The City of Kelowna, Downtown Kelowna Association (DKA) and the RCMP have partnered to launch a program that will register the location of CCTV cameras at businesses in the area, providing police with quicker access to potential sources of video evidence.
Currently, RCMP members must canvas areas in person when a crime occurs to determine if there are CCTV cameras that might have captured footage of vital evidence.
“We are very pleased to partner with the City and the DKA on this pilot project,” said RCMP superintendent Brent Mundle. “Not only does it give us the opportunity to maximize the efficiency of resources through an intelligence-led model, it supports crime prevention and exemplifies partnerships for more effective policing and community safety.”
Through the program, businesses can voluntarily register cameras and contact information with the city. The database will also include information about CCTV cameras located on city-owned property.
The initiative has been reviewed and cleared by the Privacy Commissioner Office of B.C.
“If an incident occurs, the RCMP can identify registered CCTV cameras in the area and ask camera owners if the footage can be secured to provide sometimes pivotal evidence faster,” said Darren Caul, director of community safety for the city.
“It’s a natural partnership and yet another innovative tool for the RCMP in their service to our community.”
The DKA’s executive director Mark Burley is encouraging business members to participate in the program.
“We’ve made it simple for businesses to sign up and we believe the initiative is a win-win partnership for everyone involved as we work together to create a safer downtown for our businesses and their customers,” said Burley.
The CCTV registry pilot program is one of Kelowna’s intelligent city initiatives, which finds ways to improve the lives of residents through access to online services, technological innovation and collaborative problem-solving.
“This initiative meets all of those criteria,” said Andreas Boehm, Kelowna’s intelligent cities manager. “And while initially, we anticipate it will significantly reduce the time and resources spent physically going around locating and soliciting potentially vital video evidence, it could lead to other positive crime reduction and sense of safety outcomes down the road.”
To maintain the security of the database, partnership members will visit DKA members in person to describe the program and how to sign up for the registry. The DKA will also contact all its members through email to ensure they have the information needed to sign up for the program.