Niagara Regional Police Service is receiving $90,000 from the Ontario government to help better detect and prevent criminal activity using video cameras.
The funding will be used to install police cameras in St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. There are no plans to use these funds to deploy cameras in West Niagara communities.
“We welcome this investment to continue to leverage and expand resources within our Real Time Operations Centre to utilize CCTV cameras both in response to an incident as well as proactively prevent crime-based on investigative intelligence,” said Stephanie Sabourin, NRPS spokesperson.
The Real Time Operations Centre (RTOC) is a NRPS video surveillance centre that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is staffed by two civilian analysts responsible for a multitude of cameras throughout the region. It provides video information to police officers and investigators. The system is used to help locate missing people, including children and people in crisis. “The RTOC has also been pivotal in determining the identity of suspects wanted for various types of crimes,” a NRPS webpage says.
The video collected by the police is in accordance with privacy guidelines set by the provincial government (see PDF).
“Improving the technology and information available to our frontline police is critical to deterring unlawful activity and holding offenders accountable in our communities,” said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West. “People in Niagara need to feel safe in their homes and their businesses as we recover from the impacts of COVID-19 without fear of crime.”
This funding comes from the Ontario CCTV Grant announced in Aug. 2020, which is providing $6 million over three years to expand close circuit televsion systems for 18 police services across the province.
“The Niagara Regional Police Service welcomes this investment as we continue to leverage and expand resources within our Real Time Operations Centre (RTOC) to utilize CCTV cameras as an investigative tool,” said Bryan MacCulloch, Chief of Police of the Niagara Regional Police Service in a release.
MacCulloch said the Niagara Region has not been immune to the increase of gun violence seen in other communities. “We welcome this opportunity to work collaboratively with our partners at the City of St. Catharines and City of Niagara Falls to address these concerning incidents within our region. “