Fayetteville Police program aims to reduce crime by accessing home, businesses surveillance cameras

Monique John Image
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Fayetteville Police hoping to access surveillance cameras
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The police department is encouraging people to enlist their security cameras in an online portal to help with criminal investigations.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville police is starting a project to help lower crime and make surveillance cameras more accessible throughout the city. The department is encouraging people to enlist their security cameras in an online portal to help with criminal investigations.

The police department is partnering with intelligence company Fusus to open an online camera registry. If an incident happens, police will know if there might be video evidence from a camera nearby that's been registered. That evidence could speed up investigations and emergency response. In a statement, Chief Kem Braden says:

"Continuing to build a real partnership between our residents and businesses and our police department is the key to a successful public safety landscape. This new platform will enable us to operate more efficiently to create a safer city for our residents. I strongly urge all the security camera owners in the community to take part in this fantastic new program."

Business owners ABC11 spoke with downtown say they like the idea.

"I had an incident in which a gentleman was here and when it occurred, I had to call 911," said Bruce Cokley, the co-owner of Agora Restaurant. "The police wanted to know what was going on and it would have been a lot easier for them to see what was going on if they could have tapped in and see that I had someone that was unruly."

Cokley says he'll upgrade the cameras for his restaurant, Agora, now that he knows this kind of program is available.

"Being a business owner, obviously, we're not there all the time," said Elizabeth Nelson, the owner of Lone Wolf Tactical. "If something happens, we have to go back and look at the footage ourselves. Knowing that the police could come right in and do the same thing...really would be helpful especially if we had something like a break-in or vandalism."

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However, Nelson questions if this is a good idea for private homes.

Fayetteville city Councilmember Mario Benavente pushed back even further, saying the following in a statement: "Police have constitutional limitations on their ability to surveil the free public, which is how it ought to be. Although this is a voluntary program that members of the community can opt into utilizing, folks should be aware of what they're signing up for and how it circumvents protections against constant police surveillance. I don't want Fayetteville to solely rely on law enforcement to react after incidents occur. I want community members to get to know their neighbors and work proactively with their elected leaders to address issues of safety and poverty. The further we retreat from that mutual responsibility, the greater the dependence is misplaced on police."

Fayetteville Police responded, saying:

"We believe that FUSUS will provide us with the opportunity to save time during critical investigations and grant us access to security cameras out in the community that capture public activities which may contain evidence of a crime."

People can go to connectfayetteville.org to learn more.


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