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Montgomery Co. considers incentives for installing security cams

6.14.2022 – WTOP – Jack Pointer jpointer@wtop.com

A doorbell surveillance camera is seen in this file photo.

In an effort to help law enforcement, Maryland’s Montgomery County is considering a program that would make installing security cameras more affordable.

A bill before the County Council would create a security camera incentive program within Montgomery County’s Police Department.

Rebates or vouchers would be offered to residents and businesses to help cover the cost of buying a private security camera.

“Violent crime has increased both locally and nationally, but we can utilize camera technology to help solve these crimes,” said Council member Craig Rice, one of the bill’s sponsors, in a statement.

“Police recently used security camera footage to help solve a tragic murder in Germantown. By making security cameras available to members of the community who might not otherwise be able to afford them, we are empowering our residents to help make our communities safer.”

Police would maintain a record of the cameras registered through the program, and they would determine “priority areas” that would benefit most from such a program.

Montgomery County’s proposal is similar to one in place in D.C. Police there made nine arrests in the 2021 fiscal year, the county said, thanks in part to video footage from participants’ security cameras. These include seven arrests in murder cases and an arrest in a sexual assault case.

A public hearing on the bill is set for July 12.

Council President Gabe Albornoz called the bill “an important step forward” to address rising crime and violence “that we’re seeing here and across this country.”

Council member Will Jawando asked to be added as a co-sponsor on the bill. He said small business owners in Silver Spring had installed security cameras at their own expense and told his colleagues on the council, “I think this is an important strategy to make sure we know what’s happening” in a community, “and that people are safe.”