AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Police are calling on businesses to give them more eyes on the street through access to their exterior security cameras.
The program, Deputize my Camera, launched this week after a six-month pilot program with a few Downtown Austin businesses.
"This type of system is only going to add and be a force multiplier for us. Adding cameras, which are already existing, is a really easy way to expand the system, which we know works," said Austin Police Cmdr. Brent Dupre.
If businesses are not comfortable giving APD on-demand access to their cameras, they can simply register their cameras with the department, so APD can map potential vantage points if a crime occurs in the area.
During the pilot program, the camera outside the Royal Blue Grocery on Congress Ave. helped police identify a suspicious backpack that had been called into 911 dispatchers.
"When you are dealing with a 911 situation, I think those things kind of take a back seat to what really needs to happen, and that is help APD do their job," the grocery store's Craig Staley said. "If we can't keep this core of our city center safe, then we risk everything."
Dupre said APD would only access the cameras in an emergency, but he said the help could prove invaluable, especially if they have a suspect on the run.
Police say instant camera access may have helped track down the person who attacked a woman Monday night in West Campus. That suspect stabbed a woman near 24th and Guadalupe Streets.
Anyone interested in registering their cameras can visit the Deputize my Camera program by clicking here.