Private home security is a priority for residents in Halton. This combined with population growth has led to an increasing number of residential video surveillance cameras being installed at private residences. Home security cameras are an effective crime prevention tool that also assists in solving crime. These benefits extend beyond the home to include the community. Police will often contact homeowners to inquire about video surveillance while investigating a crime which has occurred elsewhere in the neighbourhood.
The Security Camera Resource And Mapping program (S.C.R.A.M) is a community based crime prevention opportunity and investigative resource that enlists the help of Halton residents. S.C.R.A.M. enables community members to voluntarily identify their residential video surveillance location through a simple, secure, confidential, online form located on the Halton Regional Police Service website. Identified addresses will be mapped on a database of surveillance camera locations for officers to quickly and effectively direct resources when investigating criminal offences in your neighbourhood. Your participation in this innovative program can deter and prevent crime, and save lives.
What exactly is the S.C.R.A.M. program for?
Whenever the police are in your neighbourhood taking a crime report, they may canvass neighbours to see if they saw, heard, or are aware of anything suspicious. This can be a time-consuming endeavour as it may include a 360 radius around the crime scene. Armed with the knowledge of locations of security cameras, police can better focus their investigation. This has proven helpful in many investigations where suspect vehicles or suspects themselves have been picked up on third-party camera systems. Knowing a "direction" enables investigators to focus their attention on that particular path, even at considerable distances, where perhaps another camera may be located, e.g. a gas station, etc.
Is the S.C.R.A.M. program really going to help?
Investigators have been surprised by the number of residents choosing to protect their homes and property with security cameras. The low cost/high-tech equipment available today has made this crime prevention technique far more prolific. High-profile cases of missing children’s images seen on security cameras are a compelling case for their use in the public safety environment. Canvassing a neighbourhood is a time-consuming endeavour and the program will only be as good as the data inputted. That’s why we want your help.
If I participate, do I have to hand over my video footage/images?
No. That is entirely up to you; the program will always remain completely voluntary.
Why do the police want this?
The objective of the program is primarily to build a database of camera locations in our community. Adding a security camera to your property is an excellent crime prevention tool, and is a way for you to protect your OWN property. Crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility. The presence of cameras is a deterrent to crime. Allowing the police to quickly contact you so that you may check your cameras for potential recordings of crimes in progress is a way for citizens to help make our communities safer for everyone.
Are you asking us to do the job of the police?
No. We are asking you to take an active part in helping make your community safer. Neighbourhood Watch was a recognized crime prevention initiative many years ago; police asked neighbours to look out for neighbours. This is the technological extension of that.
Will anyone be able to see the database?
No. The list of registered properties is kept confidential and only the police will have access to it. When a crime occurs, officers can locate the scene on a "crime map" and instantly see which residences in the neighbouring areas have security video that may be of use.
Are the police encroaching on our privacy?
No. The program is one hundred percent voluntary. You may be visited regardless if a crime occurs in your neighbourhood by officers doing the regular canvass. In addition to being asked about the specific event, you may be asked if you have cameras. You are free to decline to assist police.
How will I share the footage from my system with police?
The police will not physically remove any of your equipment. Officers will provide you with a storage device and ask that you extract the data on site, at your convenience, and provide it to them.
Is it easy to participate?
Yes. The registration form is very user-friendly and can be completed online in a matter of minutes.
Will I be contacted a lot because of this?
Hopefully you won’t be contacted at all. You may be contacted if an incident occurs in your neighbourhood and police think your security cameras may have recorded something relevant.