New Jersey considers enlisting private cameras in criminal probes

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A New Jersey lawmaker wants to make it easier for police to use private video cameras to investigate crimes.

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Ralph Caputo would permit New Jersey towns to create registries of private outdoor video surveillance cameras.

The video of a Philadelphia woman being kidnapped earlier this month is credited with adding a sense of urgency to the investigation that helped authorities find and arrest her accused abductor.

Caputo wants to provide the same tools to police in the Garden State.

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“When time lapses, it’s very difficult to bring somebody to justice,” said Caputo, D-Essex. “If we had these cameras registered, [police] would be able move quickly in an area, find out where they are and be able to review that film, and hopefully identify a criminal.”

If the measure becomes law and a town creates the registry, an owner’s failure to notify officials about a surveillance camera would be punishable by a $100 fine.

The Philadelphia Police Department has a similar program, but listing a camera is voluntary.

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