Rapid City Police Department looks to partner with citizens to help stop crime
RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City Police Department is awaiting Council approval to begin an innovative project aimed at building community ties between officers and residents. Both would use digital resources to work towards solving crime together.
Security and surveillance cameras have become common in many households, and have helped law enforcement officers to identify and charge criminals. Doorbell cameras catch footage of neighborhood crime on a regular basis, especially incidents like theft from porches or cars.
Citizens in high crime and violence areas reached out to the Rapid City Police Department in hopes of setting up a camera network that would help make their homes feel safer.
Scott Sitts, Assistant Chief of RCPD, talked about the department’s idea.
“What we would like to do is partner with residents and create a virtual neighborhood watch where we provide cameras to residents,” he explains.
Residents would install the cameras, and then if they happen to capture suspicious behavior, the footage could be voluntarily shared with the police department. Cameras would be placed in neighborhoods where residents are asking for the surveillance assistance.
“This would be establishing these networks with neighborhoods that are asking for the cameras and residents that are asking for surveillance and not the police department going out and proactively placing cameras,” Sitts says.
Officers hope that residents could build a sense of safety and community among themselves and with law enforcement as they collaborate against crime.
This method has helped solved crimes before on a smaller scale, and the department hopes to lead the way in strengthening officer ties to the community as they work together.
“We’re not going to solve all the crime and we can’t solve community violence, we need that partnership with the community,” Sitts adds.
If the grant is approved, the department hopes to create two to three neighborhood watch networks with 10 to 20 cameras each in the next few months.