More crime cameras needed, police say

AUSTIN (KXAN) – In 2012, Austin police is hoping to expand the number of digital “eyes” they have access to.

APD is actually considering joining forces with businesses that already have surveillance cameras up and running.

Earlier this year, APD installed more than two dozen cameras in the downtown and Rundberg and I-35 area .

The cameras are monitored by officers in the real time crime center and it gives them an unparalleled view of what is going on and monitor any suspicious activity. 

Now, they’re hoping to expand the spots where they can remotely view what’s happening, by tapping into web-based security cameras that businesses are already using.

Just because a business decides to join forces with APD doesn’t mean it will be an open invitation for APD to look in on those cameras.

“When we’re talking about taking a business camera – especially an interior camera – we would have agreements. It’s not like we’re just going to monitor it at random. It’s not a random monitoring. It’s only going to be if there’s a call at that location,” said Lt. Patrick Cochran.

In the case of a bank robbery for example, if APD had remote access to that particular bank’s camera, they may be able to see the bank robbery as it is happening or be able to follow a criminal leaving the scene.

Police said this is phase three of the Higher Activity Location Observation (HALO) project.