Stockton Police are asking for the public to help them solve crime, by volunteering to register their private surveillance cameras with the department.
“We know a lot of businesses and residences have cameras and we want to work with them, we want them to work with us,” Rosie Calderon with Stockton Police Department said.
The program is called Citizens Observation Program, or C.O.P.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department rolled out a similar program in April called Sheriff’s Electronic Eye, or S.E.E. Two months later, they have registered 150 private cameras.
Calderon says surveillance video is frequently used for evidence in criminal cases. Police first have to canvass entire neighborhoods to determine the locations of private cameras. The idea is that, if police have a list of residents and businesses that have cameras in certain areas, they know right away, who can help.
“First of all, Stockton’s in bankruptcy. Then the police department had all these budget cuts. It’s almost like you’re on your own sometimes. You get a little bit of a slow response, I mean they do what they can, but they don’t have the manpower,” John Highfill said.
Highfill has lived in North Stockton for seven years. He says his car has been broken into several times right in front of his house. He does not have a surveillance camera, but think’s it’s a good idea.
“If it can positively identify a suspect, then that’s a good thing,” Highfill said.
“It seems like something’s going on here everyday,” said Ron Penrose.
Penrose said crime is a growing concern, especially when he is out in the city with his young daughter.
“In the day, I’m not concerned about having her out. In the night, that’s a different story,” Penrose said.
Katy Rodgers has also seen a lot of crime occur in Stockton. She volunteers with the Guardian Angels, regularly patrolling the streets of South Stockton.
“I’ve seen a guy break into a car and take a bag out of it. Then this one guy actually stabbed his wife,” Rodgers said.
Rodgers said C.O.P. is a good idea, but she fears people who provide videos may face retaliation. She told FOX40 she has received death threats for the things she’s seen while working with the Guardian Angels.
“Because it’s their territory or whatever, and they get mad when we walk by,” she said.
Calderon says fear of retaliation is one of the biggest hurdles C.O.P. has to overcome. Invasion of privacy is another.
“The point is to solve the crime, not to focus on where we got the video, from who, or what angle it’s pointing toward,” Calderon said.
Calderon said Stockton Police will not use the surveillance video for other reasons. She said private videos are private property, even if the homeowners and businesses are registered with C.O.P.
“You can always opt out. If we ask for your video, you can just say no, and close the door,” Calderon said.
You can register to be a C.O.P by downloading an information form online and submitting it through one of the following methods:
C.O.P. Registration Form:
- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- mail: 22 E. Market Street, Stockton, CA 95202 – Attention: Public Information Office, or
- call: Officer Joe Silva at (209) 937-8209 or CSO Rosie Calderon at (209) 937-8304.