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6.21.22 – WJLA – MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (7News)

 Montgomery County is hoping to use modern technology to help fight crime along with a partnership between business owners, residents and police.

The Montgomery County Council is considering a program that would make installing security cameras more affordable. A bill before the 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. In return, police get more eyes on the streets helping catch crime.

D.C. police are already using a similar tactic and have reported making about a dozen arrests directly from the program, including the closure of seven murder cases and a sexual assault. Violent crime is up in Montgomery County, especially in downtown Silver Spring.

Police recently used security camera footage to help solve a tragic murder in Germantown.

Council member Craig Rice believes police can utilize camera technology to help solve these crimes.

“This is something that’s going to be important to us across the board as we continue to, unfortunately, see some of the rises in crime and violence. But it will certainly lead to more cases being solved and so our police are in full support of this. We worked hand-in-hand with the chief of police on this,” said Rice.

By making security cameras available to members of the community who might not otherwise be able to afford them, supporters of this bill say it empowers residents to help make communities safer. Montgomery County police would maintain a record of the cameras registered through the program and would establish hotspots where crimes are spiking.

“This program has been very successful in the District of Columbia to help close a number of cases. And often times the disproportionately impacted are black and brown communities and so I think this is an important step forward to address rising issues that we are seeing here and across this country,” said Council President, Gabe Albornoz.

Now there are those opponents who say this is another case of big brother trespassing on privacy issues. All of that will be hashed out in a couple of weeks. A public hearing on Bill 1422 is scheduled for July 12.