The sharing of home security system footage has become the norm in many local social media groups. This practice is a way to alert other residents of a potential crime in their neighbourhood as well as becoming a virtual citizen patrol aimed at identifying would-be criminals. However, local mounties are asking residents to be mindful when sharing on social media.
Cst. Jennifer Weedmark with Airdrie's Community Resource Unit wrote that if a member of the public is involved in an incident that is criminal in nature, it is always best practice to make a complaint to the police.
"Follow the direction provided by a police officer before sharing information, as it may be used as evidence or contain pertinent information which could compromise the investigation," Cst. Weedmark explained.
She also underlined that individuals with security systems used to protect their homes do have the right to share footage captured if the footage is of a public space because there is no expectation of privacy.
But what of residents posting camera footage or photos of youth?
"'Kids pulling pranks' is considered Mischief or Breach of Peace (amongst other offences) in the Criminal Code of Canada, and is also against the Public Behaviour bylaw. If a suspect is committing an offence and there is a victim involved, there is an expectation the suspect be identified for the issue to be resolved," Cst. Weedmark added.
In 2023, Alberta RCMP announced that Mounties were launching what is known as the CAPTURE Program, also known as the Community Assisted Policing Through Use of Recorded Evidence.
"You can help protect your property, your family and your community by registering your security cameras with the Rural Crime Capture Program. By registering your camera, you are taking an active role in deterring crime and assisting the RCMP with their overall crime prevention goals in your community," Mounties state on their website.
The main goal behind CAPTURE, which is a voluntary program, is to encourage residents to sign up and register their cameras to build a mapping program of said cameras in any given community. By entering into the program, Mounties will have your contact information, which allows for quicker contact to check cameras for potential evidence in an investigation.
CAPTURE also ensures that the list of registered properties in the database is kept confidential and only the police will have access to it.
"The security camera owner is the owner of the video/footage/photos produced. The police will not have access to any live video feed of any participant. The design of the website will also allow for a registrant to remove their profile at any time should they choose to no longer participate in the program."
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