New crime fighting tool expands to Cuyahoga County suburbs

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jun 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 17:53:22-04

A voluntary program that puts the locations of 900 security cameras across Cuyahoga Country in the hands of police officers is expanding.  

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor's office is expanding their Surveillance Camera Mapping Initiative to include more suburbs. 

Business owners or residents can voluntarily enter their camera location and contact information into the prosecutor's data base. It will be used by law enforcement only.  

Instead of canvassing a neighborhood for surveillance video on foot and knocking on doors, "The officer is able to look at his or her mobile device to do a virtual canvas of the area, saving time," said Eleina Thomas, Managing Attorney of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Crime Strategies Unit. 

Parma is one of the suburbs using the program. They're focusing on this surveillance camera program hoping to help crack cases faster.

"The first 48 hours are important in any crime, we have a greater chance of solving it. This tool is important," said Parma Police Captain Kevin Riley. 

Traffic cameras, businesses, gas stations, surveillance cameras are everywhere. It is estimated the average American is caught on camera 75 times a day.

Prosecutors modeled this program after a similar one in San Francisco.

It is a voluntary program where business owners and residents supply the location of their cameras and a contact information for a data base and if a crime happens in an area police can locate cameras in the vicinity. 

"It is based off of Google maps when an officer access is it the location pops up as well as the person to contact" explained Thomas. 

The program rolled out in the city of Cleveland last year. It was so successful that they are now expanding the voluntary program, offering every suburb in the county the opportunity to get involved.