Hoping to aid investigations, Mpls. PD asks businesses to join camera network

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Minneapolis police are hoping more business owners with security cameras will sign up for its camera network, which police say will help them investigate crimes and make the city safer.

This camera registry program – managed by Minneapolis-based Securonet – is a new crime prevention and investigation tool for the city's police department that allows participating companies to more easily share security camera footage.

The network of registered cameras also gives law enforcement officials the ability to flag and track incidents in the city through mapping within the program, the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District tweeted.

All businesses have to do is register their exterior cameras with the program (it's free). Then, in the event that a crime happens in the area, it will be easier for investigators to contact the business and obtain surveillance video of the incident.

“If you think of something like the Boston bombing, investigators had to go door-to-door asking who owned cameras and how to obtain the video. Through programs like this, the process is all automated and much more efficient,” Minneapolis Police Department Commander Scott Gerlicher said in a news release.

Footage from security cameras belonging to businesses on the Boston Marathon finish line helped police identify the two suspects in the days after the bombing, and video also helped convict Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of the crime.

Securonet has already been used successfully in Minneapolis, the release says. On St. Patrick's Day this year, when a number of disturbances broke out downtown, 61 security cameras were utilized – all 21 businesses that investigators reached out to for video responded to their request.

Some have questioned police surveillance as more departments around the country participate in similar programs, NPR News reported.

There have also been questions about if police have direct access to live video, and how the data will be treated, FOX 9 notes, but according to Securonet's website, Minneapolis police can't obtain the video without permission from business owners.

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