D.C. police on Friday announced a new partnership with District businesses that will allow police to have quicker access to video footage from the businesses’ security cameras during a crime, emergency or large-scale incident.
The Capital Shield program, as Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier calls it, is a partnership with Kastle Systems that will add 1,000 cameras across the city to businesses interested in joining the program. To avoid privacy concerns, the cameras will be aimed at public spaces, such as sidewalks, alleys and streets, and not inside businesses or homes, she said.
The cameras, she said, will give police “an extra set of eyes” that will “help make Washington, D.C., much safer and secure moving forward.”
In addition to the new cameras, which will be installed over the next few months, businesses as well as homeowners who have their own security cameras outside their property can enroll in the program to cut down on crime not just against one business but to stop crime from escalating throughout the community. Individuals and businesses can enroll at www.capitalshield.org.
One example of how the cameras would be used, Lanier said, is during alerts when a “suspicious package” has been discovered at a venue. Lanier said officers would be able to access the footage more quickly to determine who left the package.
Lanier said police will not use the cameras to monitor public spaces and would seek the video for specific investigations. Lanier said there will be no cost to D.C. taxpayers. Businesses who want the high-definition cameras would not be charged for the equipment but would have to pay a monitoring fee of $40 per month.
Falls Church-based Kastle Systems has spent more than 40 years securing office buildings and other commercial properties, company officials said. They use software to monitor video for criminal behavior and alert authorities by smartphone when necessary.
“Modern video technology saves lives, catches criminals, deters crime and accomplishes something that we all value — a safer city,” said Kastle’s owner, Mark Ein.