DC Offers Security Camera Voucher Program for LowIncome Residents

first_imgWashington, D.C., needs all the virtual eyes and ears it can get to monitor crime and, as a result, the city government is launching a voucher program for people who can’t afford to make the initial deposit for a security camera system.The existing Private Security Camera Incentive Program provides rebates for the purchase, installation and registration of security camera systems after they are placed outside of a building owned or leased by a resident, business, nonprofit, or religious institution. The city pays up to $200 of the purchase price for every camera installed outside of a residential building, with a maximum rebate of up to $500 per residential address. The reimbursement is the same for cameras installed outside businesses and commercial nonprofit or religious institutions. The maximum rebate for that category is $750 per address.Reimbursements are typically made within nine weeks, said Christopher Dyer, the program’s administrator.Now, the city wants people on public assistance to join the program as well and hopes to launch the voucher portion of the program by next year, Dyer said.“We’re trying to find a vendor who will do the installation and instead of putting the money out, we’ll do it,” Dyer said.In 2015, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced legislation to create the program as part of her Safer, Stronger D.C. public safety initiative. Since the program started in February, the city has approved more than 1,000 applications for rebates, funding over 2,500 cameras across all eight wards.“I am thrilled that so many people have taken advantage of the program,” Bowser said in a statement.The security cameras must be registered with the Metropolitan Police Department, which gives officers the ability to request the footage during criminal investigations. City officials know of two cases in which video footage led to arrests for theft, Dyer said. Police also used footage as evidence in three other cases: assault with intent to kill, a homicide and auto theft, Dyer added.Yet, there’s no evidence to suggest that the cameras have led to reduced crime rates in the city.“The program is still relatively new,” Dyer said.last_img read more