A crime-fighting program begun last fall in Ambler -- it’s one that figures the criminal element is camera-shy -- is off to a... well, let’s call it a blurry start.

“It’s not going well thus far,” said Terrie Williams, administrative assistant, Ambler Police Department. “We’ve only had a few people sign up.”

The new program asks borough residents and business owners with outdoor security surveillance cameras to join the borough’s Voluntary Security Camera Registration effort and “turn your camera into a crime-fighting tool by voluntarily participating in the community-police partnership.”

As was said, a slow start so far in that partnership -- but time will tell.

Joining the free program will help assist police “to increase our ability to investigate criminal activity,” according to the department. Should an incident occur in an area where a camera is registered, the owner will be contacted by an officer to determine if the system captured anything of value. All information is kept confidential.

The system is “one of the best” methods in apprehending a suspect, according to Williams. Said she: “Not only does it catch them in the act, it is very hard for the suspect to deny they didn’t do the crime.” The types of crime likely to be captured on video are theft of a package delivered to a property, hit-and-run traffic incidents, and assault.

“These types of crime usually do not have a suspect because they aren’t seen by anyone,” said Williams. “But if there was footage of the suspect or suspects, the crimes may be solved sooner.”

The camera-registration project began last October, according to Williams, and to date in Ambler there has been no need for its amenities. “On a good note,” she said, “we haven’t needed any help from a system like this.”

But before one is needed, it's hoped camera owners join the borough program.

“Hopefully more people and businesses will sign up,” said Williams. “If a criminal feels that they are on a camera, maybe it will deter them from doing or participating in the crime.”

To join the effort, Ambler camera owners can obtain a registration form at the borough website (boroughofambler.com), send an email to twilliams@police.ambler.pa.us or call police at 215-646-1000.

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