At tomorrow’s legislative meeting of the DC Council, Councilmember Charles Allen will move the Private Security Camera System Incentive Program Emergency Act of 2016.
The legislation creates an incentive for our residents and neighborhood establishments – businesses, nonprofits, and religious institutions – to enhance the security of their property and neighborhood, deter crime, and help the police by adding extra eyes on the street.
Councilmember Allen said, “It is clear that home and business security cameras help deter crime and aid the police in holding individuals accountable for criminal acts. This bill will target the highest crime areas in each Ward and nearly double the number of residents and neighborhood establishments eligible to receive rebates for installing and registering security cameras.”
The Metropolitan Police Department often relies on video footage as an investigative tool to identify suspects. A recent MPD newsletter quoted Chief Cathy Lanier saying, “Video is a force multiplier for MPD. It gives us an extra set of eyes by allowing us to provide much needed situational awareness.” MPD’s online video feed reveals 20% of the videos posted are from privately owned security cameras installed on homes and businesses.
In September, as part of the supplemental budget process, Mayor Bowser asked the Council to approve $500,000 for a security camera incentive program. The Council approved the request with the requirement that the Mayor submit details of the program to Council for approval by legislation, which she did in late November.
Councilmember Allen will move a revised version of Mayor Bowser’s legislation. The revisions nearly double the number of maximum rebates possible, while maintaining a generous incentive: Up to $200 per camera installed and registered, with a maximum rebate of $500 per residential property and $750 per business, nonprofit, or religious institution, which often have a larger property footprint. Councilmember Allen’s effort also ensures that the highest crime area in each Ward receives priority for rebates, extends the length of time funds are available, and extends eligibility for the rebates to nonprofit organizations.