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Portsmouth police launch camera registry website geared to reduce crime

The website, Portsmouth Connect, is one of several efforts to expand the use of technology to solve crime in the city.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Portsmouth police are rolling out new technology to fight crime.  

City leaders launched a new website designed to keep track of cameras around the community, and they're reaching out to people in the community to participate. 

It's just part of a plan to expand the city's use of tech to keep neighborhoods safe.

This week, the department launched a new website, Portsmouth Connect.

People can register their home surveillance cameras, existing or new, with police. Community partners, such as housing complexes, businesses and schools, can also allow the city to access their surveillance feeds as part of the platform. 

"It's literally going to allow us to put additional eyes into the community and to partner with, not only our business community, but our citizens," said Portsmouth Police Chief Stephen Jenkins. 

The program does not give police access to personal camera devices, but Jenkins said it helps them know where cameras are located throughout the city. That, alone, would cut down critical time in the investigation process. Typically, officers must walk door-to-door to see who has a camera.

"It really gives us real-time information that we can look at," said Jenkins. 

In case of crime, police will reach out to homeowners in the area for any video footage, and those individuals can choose whether to upload video to the website. 

Jenkins hopes this will not only deter crime but help solve them and make arrests.

Portsmouth Connect is part of the department's “Fusus” platform. The system consolidates all video feeds connected to the city into one network. The integrated camera system is an effort to deter crime and reduce response times. 

It costs $125,000 for a yearly subscription.

Portsmouth Connect is not the only initiative rolling out this week. 

There's also the installation of new automatic license plate readers throughout the city. Through a partnership company, called Flock, Portsmouth is scheduled to receive 60 stationed license plate readers throughout the city. 

Another company, Axon, will transform existing patrol car cameras into license plate readers, as well, said Jenkins.  

According to Jenkins, the license plate readers will help identify suspect vehicles, but also gives neighboring departments an opportunity to work together. The technology could also be useful in missing person alerts. 

“It’s going to help us collectively fight crime because crime here in our area does not stop in our boundaries," said Jenkins. "It really jumps from city to city. When something happens in the Beach, in Portsmouth, in Suffolk, now all of those dots can get connected and we can start addressing some of the bad actors who are causing havoc in our community.”

To register for Portsmouth Connect or learn more information, click here

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