BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham Police Department (BPD) launched a voluntary program on Wednesday for Birmingham residents and businesses with cameras to register their devices with the police to help solve crimes.
BPD chief Scott Thurmond announced the Connect Birmingham program alongside Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin at the BPD Headquarters on Wednesday morning.
“You can choose to share streaming continuously or based upon your privacy settings,” Thurmond explained. “This option allows for a faster response, provides our officers with a real-time view of what is current, and helps our officers understand the nature of the call.”
“When I think about other cities and how cameras are all over, we have existing cameras, but this amplifies our eyes around the city,” added Woodfin.
Thurmond estimated the BPD currently only has around 1,600 cameras on its system.
“We need more,” he said. “We know we need more.”
Thurmond insisted that this program has been in development for almost a year, and the BPD has worked with the city’s law department to get the legal logistics worked out.
“Law enforcement can’t solve all the problems in the world,” Thurmond said. “So it’s going to take a partnership of all of us working together. And this is how we can start that partnership.”
Thurmond suggested the biggest challenge for this program would be getting people to participate.
“Honestly, we don’t have the time to sit and watch everyone’s cameras,” he said in response to a question about privacy concerns. “We don’t have the desire to either. We do have the desire to make Birmingham a safer city, to reduce crime, to get victims justice for however they’ve been wronged.”
“It’s a very exciting day for us,” he added later. “We’re very enthusiastic about the results we’re going to get, and we just encourage our business owners and our homeowners to go to Connect Birmingham.”
Birmingham area citizens and business owners can register cameras here.
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