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Taking fight against crime downtown: DA will knock on doors around Niagara Falls to sign up cameras for video crime-fighting program

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Mon, Jun 11th 2018 01:30 pm
Niagara County District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek will knock on doors all over the Pine Avenue business district Tuesday looking for video cameras that might spot a crime.
That's part of the DA's plan for an active day focused on crime and community safety, which will culminate with her participating in the Niagara Falls Police Department's "Slow Roll" bicycle ride. First, though, she plans to talk to local business owners and managers about Operation SAFECAM, a program that encourages private citizens and businesses to register their security cameras with the district attorney's office so that, in the event of a nearby crime, local police investigators know to check those cameras' footage.
"Operation SAFECAM was born of the need to have more intelligence available to our police when crime occurs," Wojtaszek explained. "We've installed very sophisticated cameras that can record a lot of information, but sometimes our eyes aren't in the right places, and it helps if we know where to look."
The district attorney noted she's publicizing the program for two reasons.
"We want more businesses to sign up, more private homeowners to sign up, to let us know they have cameras that might help solve a crime," she said. "But more than that, we want the criminals to know that we're watching, and that Niagara County is a bad environment for them to operate, because we are being vigilant."
Wojtaszek will visit businesses from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
In addition to signing up private cameras for Operation SAFECAM, Wojtaszek has also purchased several high-tech video surveillance cameras using asset forfeiture monies. The data from those cameras is streamed to the Niagara Intelligence and Crime Analysis Center, which is collocated with the Niagara Falls Police Department. The state-funded NICAC center works collaboratively with police agencies from around Niagara County.

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