The Cobb County Police Camera Registration program is a police/community video partnership that operates on a voluntary basis with homeowners, neighborhoods and business owners who own private video surveillance systems. We encourage both businesses and residents to register their cameras online by completing the form below.
This program is intended to let our officers know where cameras are active in the county in case a crime occurs. It is not intended for active surveillance, and officers will not have direct access to homeowners' cameras. Those who register a camera will be contacted if a crime occurs in the vicinity of that camera.
Information provided by residents and businesses will be maintained in a secure database.
We encourage homeowners, HOA’s, businesses, and business communities to partner with the Cobb County Police Department in our efforts to make Cobb County a safer community in which to live, work, and play.
The Community Making a Difference
This community police partnership was illustrated recently after a string of exceptionally troubling armed robberies occurred in Cobb County. The suspect was very active and becoming more brazen with each attack, commonly targeting females with young children. After one armed robbery in which the offender pressed a handgun into the abdomen of a mother with her toddler, Offices and Detectives canvassed the area for any clues. They located a privately-owned camera system which had one camera pointed toward the roadway. Although the citizen who owned the video system did not intentionally point the camera towards the roadway and although he was not one of the victims in the series of crimes, his camera helped to stop the violence. In one of the videos, a vehicle was seen leaving the area directly after the armed robbery. Noted in the video was a small but distinct sticker on the rear of the car.
With some work, the make and model of the car were able to be obtained. Our crime analyst identified around 300 cars of this make and model in the vicinity of the crimes and eventually was able to develop one as a prime suspect vehicle. Surveillance was conducted on this vehicle, and officers noticed the same unique sticker on the suspect vehicle as had been seen in the citizen’s video footage. While conducting surveillance on the suspect, he was arrested. He was found to be in possession of a handgun, had property stolen in other armed robberies, and was in the process of committing more armed robberies at the time he was captured. The crime spree was stopped due, in large part, to one citizen’s video system and his willingness to partner with the Cobb County Police.
Prevention and Prosecution
Security cameras can prevent crime as criminals may be less likely to strike if they know they will be recorded. Second, security cameras creating leads for police officers and detectives when a crime occurs in or around your home or business. Your camera system can be most effective in assisting the police and preventing crime by following these simple tips:
Bottlenecks are areas through which people or cars must travel (including criminal offenders) to enter your neighborhood, home, or business. Bottlenecks can be exploited with camera systems in order to develop useful leads for police in the event of a crime. The premise is simple:
- Identify bottleneck locations.
- Use the highest quality cameras in your system to record them. Higher resolution cameras that can record well in all lighting and weather conditions are common place and becoming less expensive over time.
- Ensure that the camera is positioned properly so that the thing sought will be visible in the video frame.
- Pre-set the zoom feature of the camera appropriately to best capture information needed by the police (tag numbers, vehicle descriptions, faces and general descriptions of offenders).
Bottleneck cameras should be used in conjunction with the other wider view cameras in your system, not exclusively.
Identifying Bottleneck Locations
Tag numbers are an exceptionally important, and often lacking, lead that can be developed by smart use of security camera systems. A picture of a person is great, but the chance of police identifying an offender just by a picture of him is slim. A tag number gives us an actionable starting point to link the car used to the offender.
Entrances and exits of your neighborhood or business community are the primary bottlenecks for obtaining tag numbers. It is best practice to try to obtain every tag number that comes into your neighborhood or business.
- Use high quality cameras
- Position them properly so that the tag is captured in the recording
- Pre-set the zoom so that the tag number of each car is actually clear and legible in the video
The roadway in front of your home or business is another bottleneck that individuals can use if cameras cannot be placed at the entrance / exits. Individual homeowners / business owners, who can, are asked to point at least one quality camera towards the roadway positioned and zoomed to obtain tag numbers or, at least, car descriptions.
Vehicle descriptions are also exceptionally important. They develop leads and help officers be more alert during their routine patrols and lookout for offenders. Vehicle descriptions can generally be captured with the camera placement strategies discussed above (Tag Numbers).
Video of offender faces are most beneficial when the person can be clearly identified. A picture or video that shows a subject who is not easily identifiable is not helpful. Clothing descriptions, though secondary, are also very important. Police must prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the person they have charged is the one who committed the crime. An identifiable video or picture of the offender in your home, business, or neighborhood is one of the best ways to obtain this level of proof.
Bottleneck cameras that can help identify offenders are challenging to place because criminals may not always enter a home or business through the front door. Generally, though, bottleneck cameras placed to capture the offenders’ faces and descriptions include three areas:
- Likely points of entry into the home or business. Offenders may enter through a window, but often they will simply enter through an exterior door.
- Likely points of entry or exit from frequently targeted areas of the home / business (master bedroom, safes, areas containing electronics, etc.)
- Likely points of exit from the home or business. Even if offenders enter through a window, they often leave through an exterior door because they can unlock it from the inside and remove the items they stole more easily than going back through the window.
As with other bottlenecks, exploit these areas inside your home or business:
- Use the highest quality cameras in your system to record.
- Ensure the camera is positioned properly so that the offenders will be visible in the video.
- Pre-set the zoom feature of the camera appropriately to capture details of the offender’s face (most important) and clothing (less important). Remember that other cameras in your system will normally give us the offender’s clothing description, so it is more important to focus on getting a detailed video of the suspect’s face in bottleneck areas.
License Plate Recognition Cameras (LPR’s)
LPR cameras are quite different than security cameras that are simply positioned and zoomed to obtain a tag numbers. LPR’s have an additional computer aided system that allows them to recognize vehicle registration plates. Once the system recognizes a license plate, it then interprets the digits, places those digits into a database (that contains the date, time, picture, and tag number). With certain systems, LPR cameras can communicate with police officers in the field. For example, when a stolen car, stolen tag, or a car that the department has identified as wanted in connection to a crime enters your neighborhood or business, the system automatically alerts police electronically that the car is in your community. Officers receive this information within seconds and can proceed to your community to attempt to intervene before a crime occurs.
Additionally, the historical data in the database allows detectives to check recently identified offenders’ tag numbers against those who have been in your neighborhood to see if they committed previous burglaries there or if they have been “casing” your neighborhood. The database information also allows detectives to solve many criminal cases around the metro area. With time, LPR’s are becoming less expensive and much easier to install. Both citizens and police are strategically placing them in communities to prevent crime.
All data obtained by an LPR is under the complete control of the owner and police only have access when granted by the owner.
We hope that the tips above will assist you in strategically designing your video system to protect you, your family, and your neighbors. I want to thank you again for registering your camera with CCPD Connect. We are grateful that you took the time to do so. If you need any assistance in developing an effective security camera plan, the staff at the Cobb County Police Department stands ready and willing to help. Contact your local Precinct Commander or our Community Affairs Unit.
Also remember to sign up or follow the Cobb County Police Department: