Philly Police using video to fight crime: 'We've become the model for other departments' - Technical.ly Philly

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Jan. 6, 2015 1:31 pm

Philly Police using video to fight crime: ‘We’ve become the model for other departments’

It also helps that more Philadelphians are signing up to share their video footage with the Police Department through its SafeCam program.
Most of the Philadelphia Police Department’s video feeds come from SEPTA cameras.

Most of the Philadelphia Police Department's video feeds come from SEPTA cameras.

(Photo by Flickr user Kyle Gradinger, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Philadelphia Police Department is on the cutting edge of using video to solve crime, according to a Daily News report. Since 2008, about 90 cops have been trained in video recovery, which, among other things, teaches officers how to turn video footage into YouTube clips.

Such clips played a key role in September’s Center City gay-bashing assault. Even this week, another fight caught on video is in the news.

From the Daily News story:

The department is so far ahead of the curve, [police spokesman Lt. John Stanford] said, that [Det. Anthony] Vega and other Philly detectives regularly travel to police departments around the country to speak about Philadelphia’s program and help with training.

“This is pretty big for us,” Stanford said. “We’ve become the model for other departments.”

The department’s citizen video surveillance program, Safecam, has also grown, with the number of participants nearly tripling to roughly 900 in the last 18 months. The number of private residences registering cameras has also grown, according to the report. In the past, cameras installed at businesses outnumbered those at private residences (that might have been because the city’s Commerce Department reimburses up to half of the cost of installing surveillance cameras). Now it’s about equal.

The app that citizens use to register their cameras with Safecam was built by Hyaline Creative, the dev firm run by Code for Philly co-captain Lloyd Emelle.

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Read the full Daily News story

Aside from those privately-owned cameras, the Philadelphia Police Department has access to nearly 2,000 direct video feeds, staffer Mike Vidro said last summer. (With privately-owned cameras, detectives must go to the source and download footage, but the Police Department can monitor video feeds in real-time.) Most of those are feeds from SEPTA cameras. Those feeds were a cornerstone of a regional crime mapping tool the city launched last fall.

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