Officials Urge Residents to Enroll in Buffalo SafeCam Program

Allows law enforcement to obtain footage from homes

Brendan Keany
September 21, 2019 - 7:22 am

Brendan Keany

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BUFFALO (WBEN) - Coming off the heels of this week's bizarre missing persons and homicide investigation, local officials are urging Buffalo residents to enroll in the SafeCam program. Basically, the program simply allows residents to register their home and business surveillance cameras with the Buffalo Police Department to assist in solving crimes.

"Any piece of video may be important - it just doesn't have to be the actual video of the crime itself," said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn. "It could be before the crime occurs that could give us a lead; it could be after the crime occurs where it gives us a lead on who perpetrated the crime."

Earlier this year, the DA's office prosecuted a case which used video evidence that was obtained from a homeowner who had registered their surveillance with the Buffalo SafeCam program. 61-year-old Clay Rhodes was sentenced to 10 years in  prison, as he pleaded guilty to to one count of second degree robbery and once count of second degree assault for attacking a woman in South Buffalo.

In late May, the elderly victim was returning to her home on Owahn Place when Rhodes grabbed her purse and violently pushed her to the ground. The woman fractured her pelvis in two places and slammed her head off the concrete.

Neighbors watched the defendant climb a fence and enter their backyard, and one of the neighbors called 911. After searching the area, law enforcement were able to locate Rhodes as he matched the description given by the neighbors.

Residents who are interested in participating are only required to provide their basic contact information and the location of their camera. Once registration is complete, someone from the department will contact the resident and request a visit to their home or business to verify the information they provided, and the information remains confidential.

The BPD will only contact participants in the program if there's a crime-related incident near their security camera, and police may then request to copy the images to help assist in the investigation.

Since the program began in 2015, more than 450 residents have enrolled in the program, but registration has slowed pretty significantly in recent years.

To register your home or business, visit the Buffalo Police Department website and fill out an online form, or you can call headquarters at 716-851-4444.

Listen to the full press conference below:

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