“SafeCam is one of the Philadelphia Police Department’s contemporary crime prevention and investigation tools that demonstrates the effectiveness of partnerships between police and the community,” said Sgt. Eric Gripp from the city’s police department.
Over the course of the 2017 holiday shopping season, package theft has become more visible to Philadelphia residents, many of whom hear of packages being stolen off front porches from the news or on social media. While, according to the Philadelphia Police Department, there’s no actual data to prove that package theft is any more or less common than in recent years (although “overall thefts” have been trending downward), photographic evidence has shown that there have been allegedly at least a few incidents of package theft over the past month or so. The most recent example of one of these alleged incidents involved a sanitation worker stealing a package while on duty.
However, there is one under-utilized way of combating such thefts, and that’s the PPD’s SafeCam program, which rolled out in 2011. The program covers the entire city.
“SafeCam is one of the Philadelphia Police Department’s contemporary crime prevention and investigation tools that demonstrates the effectiveness of partnerships between police and the community,” said Sgt. Eric Gripp from the police department. “A citizen registering their camera not only helps deter crime, but assists the department in its overall crime prevention strategy in our neighborhoods.”
Here’s how it works: If you have a surveillance camera outside your home, you can register it with the police department. This helps the police know which houses have surveillance cameras installed. In the event of a crime, the police department can consult its network of registered cameras and see if any are located in a spot that may have recorded the crime.
“Often times, surveillance footage can provide insight when it is the only ‘witness’ to a crime,” said Gripp in an email. “Additionally, it can also be used to help support (or disprove) eyewitness testimony.”
“You will only be contacted by the Philadelphia Police Department in the future if there is a criminal incident in the vicinity of your security camera,” says the program’s website. “Police personnel, if necessary, may request a copy of any video captured by your camera, which may assist in the investigation of a crime.”
Gripp said that residents’ surveillance footage comes in handy “fairly often.”
“We encourage folks to visit out social media sites on Facebook, Youtube and Twitter to check out the numerous surveillance footage of crimes in progress that we post,” he said.
There is no cost to register your surveillance camera and the registration process takes only about 10 minutes. To register for the SafeCam program, or for more information about the program, visit safecam.phillypolice.com.