Nearly 80 surveillance cameras belonging to private citizens and businesses in Ventura County have been instrumental in helping law enforcement solve crimes.

These cameras are in Ventura and Simi Valley where the cities’ police have started programs that let them know the specific areas where surveillance footage exists. 

On a voluntary basis, local businesses and residents can register their cameras with police with the expectation that they can be called upon to look at the footage when a nearby crime occurs. 

About two dozen of these cameras are registered in Ventura and 55 are registered in Simi Valley. Those interested in the program give police the number of cameras they have, where they are, which way they are facing and some contact information through an online form. 

The camera locations are then entered into the computer-aided dispatch system and will come up for officers on the computers in their patrol cars if a crime or vehicle crash is reported in a certain area. 

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, Port Hueneme Police Department and Santa Paula Police Department do not have such a program. Santa Paula Police Chief Steve McLean said his agency is planning to use it in the near future. 

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