The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office will have even more eyes around town as they start their new security camera registration program.
“It makes [people] feel a part of something bigger,” said Sheriff J.D. “Danny Diggs. “We were already getting some of these videos, this is just another way for people to let us know what they know.”
On Wednesday, YPSO announced the launch of the program called SHIELD, where residents and businesses throughout the county can register their security cameras. This comes at a time when the rise of companies like RING, which provide equipment for individuals to set up personal security cameras at their homes, is becoming more prevalent in York County.
Diggs said he owns a RING security camera, which he has now registered, and has felt safer in his home as a result.
“I live in a two-story house and it isn’t easy for me to see who is at my front door,” he said. “My wife has answered when nobody was home, it just makes me feel better.”
But those cameras have more benefits than just feeling safer. Diggs said people regularly send videos to the sheriff’s office with suspicious activity recorded. Residents can send videos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a registration system authorities can keep track of who has the security devices so that should a crime happen, they know where to look.
Sometimes people who have the cameras don’t realize they have caught evidence of nearby crimes so the list allows authorities to be able to make people aware when a crime happens.
Registration for the program is entirely voluntary and participants are allowed to deny access to the videos or retract registration at any point.
Diggs said while the cameras are recording people without their knowledge, it does not necessarily violate any privacy laws.
“As soon as you walk out in public, you relinquish your privacy,” he said. “But it’s not something we have automatic access to, nobody is out here just looking and looking through [footage].”
The idea for the registration system came from a conference the police department attended at which other departments had talked about the success of their own programs. With this new system, Diggs said the department hopes to have more access to crime-solving information. This can mean that a camera might capture a license plate number or a still frame of an individual.
Those registered for the program will only be contacted by YPSO if a crime takes place in the vicinity of a person’s camera. If necessary, YPSO can ask for a copy of any video that might have evidence of a crime.
Any personal information associated with the registered home or business will be kept confidential and will not be used for public dissemination.
“The YPSO SHIELD program is a communication two-way street,” authorities wrote in a news release. “The key to success is information flowing in two directions. Community partners serve as the eyes and ears of the Sheriff’s Office and serve to directly impact efforts to prevent crime by reporting suspicious behavior as soon as possible.”
Since its announcement, there are already 26 people and businesses registered.
To learn more about how to register, visit York County online.