SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Police Department is mapping security cameras, asking residents and business owners who have installed cameras to register them with the department in an effort to make criminal investigations faster and more efficient. Sgt. Adrian Acevedo is working with a geographical information system map that will allow officers to see where cameras are located.
“It’s a map that I can add layers to,” Acevedo said in a phone interview with the News-Record on July 26. “So if I want to see where all the dog licenses are in town, I have a layer for that. I’m adding a layer that has anyone who has cameras.”
If there is a break-in at a home or a business, officers will knock on doors and ask to see the camera footage. Knowing which buildings have cameras installed will allow them to go directly to them, and eliminate extra time spent asking.
“If we have a robbery that happens on one street, we can then go to a neighbor,” Acevedo said. “We’re successful with crime now by knocking on doors, so now what we want is to be able to see it quickly. We’re not asking for access to them; all of the information will stay private in the police department.”
The department doesn’t know exactly how many security cameras are in South Orange, but Acevedo said between regular cameras that are installed on the outside of buildings and doorbell cameras, the police are always going to be able to find footage of an incident.
“Now more than ever, cameras are everywhere,” he said. “You’re not getting down a block without a camera at at least one home. If someone is breaking into a house, it’s very common for them to knock first to see if anyone is home and a doorbell camera will catch that. We’re able to solve a lot of package thefts that way.”
Even if there is a break-in or other crime and the building does not have cameras, Acevedo said, if the police know a neighboring building does, they might be able to use footage from another camera on the street.
“It won’t eliminate the need to go door to door; the guys are still going to go door to door,” he said. “But it will help them go faster.”
The form to register security cameras can be found on the SOPD Facebook page and online at nj-southorange.civicplus.com/FormCenter/Police-Forms-5/South-Orange-Police-Security-Camera-Regi-67.