he Solon Police Department is looking to partner with residents and businesses that have video surveillance systems. Police are asking residents and businesses across the city to register their privately owned video surveillance systems.

While responding to criminal incidents, officers may be able to use the information or surveillance footage gathered from security cameras to assist in the apprehension and prosecution of suspects, Police Sgt. Courtenay Perkins explained.

By registering cameras with the police department, police can quickly identify nearby cameras that may have captured criminal activity, he said.

Sgt. Perkins said the overall goal of the program is to have information regarding where surveillance cameras are located throughout the city and the contact information for the owner.

“This is another police-community partnership that allows residents and businesses to take an active role in crime prevention and assist the police department as we work to keep them safe,” Sgt. Perkins said.

The program falls under the Solon Police Department’s Crime Prevention Bureau and would provide great value, Sgt. Perkins continued.

“This program will aid police in our investigations because it will save us valuable time by having that information ready at hand, instead of the traditional ‘canvassing’ for information,” he explained. “While canvassing is still a popular and useful method conducted during investigations, it is a very time-consuming task to have to complete on the front end of an investigation.

“Having this type of information up front can help us continue to chase leads right from the start,” he said. “The sooner we have leads, the more likely we are to solve the case.”

Sgt. Perkins said that oftentimes when officers canvass, no one is home or they are making contact with people who don’t have cameras or did not witness anything.

“This information allows us to pinpoint where to focus our resources from the start,” he said.

After registering cameras, residents or businesses would only receive a phone call or email from the Solon Police Department if there were a suspected criminal incident in the vicinity.

For registration or additional information, visit the city’s website at solonohio.org and follow the link for community camera program.

“In today’s world, video surveillance is critical,” Sgt. Perkins noted. “Oftentimes getting a vehicle make, model and/or license plate can be the linchpin in solving a case.”

Such things as clothing descriptions, race, gender or build of an individual are all items needed for investigating a crime, he added.

“Having that video, time stamped with a specific location can help us when solving a case and seeking successful prosecution after an arrest is made,” he explained.

Though this is a first for Solon, many police agencies have similar programs, Sgt. Perkins said, including the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Mentor and Seven Hills police departments.

“Cameras are the silent and usually unseen witness,” he added. “Without video surveillance, many crimes go unsolved.”

For the last decade, Sue Reid has covered the government, business climate and residents of Solon. A Times reporter for 22 years, Ms. Reid has earned commendations from the Ohio Newspaper Association and Cleveland Press Association.

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