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.

“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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