Dickinson Police Department has already received more than 50 applications for its upcoming SCRAM program.
The Surveillance Camera Registration and Mapping program was first announced in December and the DPD has been accepting applications from residences and businesses that have video security capabilities.
Many homes now have security systems or a video doorbell system, which could be useful in helping DPD investigations, Capt. Joe Cianni said.
"We've been using video surveillance from neighborhood citizens for quite some time," Cianni said. "We've normally gone door-to-door when we have an incident to see if anyone has any information they may have heard or seen, or check to see if they have any security footage."
Once the mapping program is completed, an officer can search a location and it will show what cameras are available and what views those have, then get in touch with residents there.
"If we could pinpoint on a map where some of these cameras are available it would sure make our investigations easier," Cianni said, "and allow us to actually look where a crime took place, bring up the map, and see if there are any registered users there."
SCRAM applications were sent out in utility billing envelopes for the community to sign up and register for the program.
It is voluntary and participants can exit at any time.
Officers would still go door-to-door for information as part of their investigations.
"It's just another way of compiling data that's going to help us speed things along and identify those users who want to help as much as they can, as well," Cianni said.
Such footage has benefited DPD investigations in the past.
"It could be something like, the crime could have happened on the east side of town, but we have information that the suspect vehicle or suspects may have been spotted in the far west side of town," Cianni said, "so we could look up that zone where they may have been seen and see if there's any registered SCRAM users there."
Participants would be given a SCRAM window cling for their homes or businesses once they have registered.
"A lot of businesses have helped us with their cameras. The gas stations and some bars, from exterior surveillance," Cianni said. "A lot of times we don't know, and the public doesn't know, that they may have some footage on their system that can help."
After announcing the program on its Facebook account, the DPD was met with criticisms that it is a government intrusion or that DPD would be able to view footage live.
None of that is true, Cianni said.
"I think they think our capabilities are more than they truly are," he said. "Some think once they register their system that we have remote access to their footage, and that's certainly not the case nor do we want anything to do with anything like that."
He added, "We don't want remote access. We just want to know you have it, and reach out to you and see if you're willing to cooperate with us and potentially have you help us solve a crime."
Cianni expects the program to be ready in about 90 days, as completing the mapping program and reviewing applications will take some time.
To participate, visit dickinsonpd.com and go under the Crime Prevention tab to register for the SCRAM program online.
An application can also be printed from the City of Dickinson website at dickinsongov.com/departments/police under Downloadable Applications.