Expanding our crime-prevention tools

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It’s no surprise that security cameras are very prevalent in Duluth’s downtown. It is our commercial hub and it sees significant traffic on a daily basis. Security cameras have become additional tools for investigating crimes and, in many instances, for preventing crimes.
And with so many cameras dotting our landscape, it’s important to the Greater Downtown Council that our partners in law enforcement know where those cameras are and that they can be available to aid in their investigations.  
Over the past year we have been partnering with the Duluth Police Department to get cameras registered on a Virtual Safety Network. This is thanks to the work of Securonet, a Minneapolis-based company that integrates public and private security camera locations into a cloud-based application.  
More than 200 cameras have been registered on the network and they are geo-mapped to their specific location on a building. These are privately owned cameras that are public-facing, such as on the exterior of buildings, center commons, sidewalks and skywalks. And while the police department does not have access to the cameras, they can contact the property owner should an issue or crime arise near their camera location to gain historical documentation.  
Ultimately, the Securonet Virtual Safety Network can save taxpayer funds because it will reduce the need to purchase publicly owned camera assets downtown and/or absorb maintenance costs. Plus, it can enhance investigative efficiencies.  
This system has been growing in other cities as well due to its ability to serve as a crime-prevention tool. Best of all, it is free to register cameras on the network.  
While it may take time to get additional cameras geo-mapped on the network, it is our hope that when we pool our resources such as this, it can benefit the community as a whole. In time, this could be a program that could be expanded to other areas of the city as well. It’s yet one more way of playing a role in a safer, more secure community.  
If you are a property owner in the downtown area, please join us by visiting duluthmn.securonetservices.com to register your cameras and learn more.