Frankford Civic group pushes SafeCam program

Street eyes: The city has its own cameras like this one at Arrott and Griscom streets. Frankford Civic members urge owners of private security systems to make them available to police.

Some members of the Frankford Civic Association want the police to have access to more eyes on neighborhood streets. They’ve formed a committee to explore ways to persuade local residents and businesses to register their private surveillance cameras with the police department.

“We hope to encourage businesses to work within the city’s SafeCam program,” said member Veronica Daniel.

Those that do sign up voluntarily let police know where their cameras are and agree to let them have access to their security recordings.

The city has its own cameras that provide “live feeds” to the Real Time Crime Center in South Philadelphia. One such live camera is at Arrott and Griscom streets.

The Police Department launched its SafeCam program in April 2011. Those who register their security systems with police will be contacted by police only if a crime occurs in the vicinity of the registered camera.

It was private surveillance footage that led detectives to a suspect in a Frankford double murder in February, according to Capt. John McCloskey.

While speaking to residents at a late March meeting in Frankford, the 15th District’s commander said detectives were able to identify a man seen setting a car ablaze on recordings obtained from a private surveillance system near the 4600 block of Trenton Street.

The murderer had shot a man and a woman on the 1300 block of Unity Street early on Feb. 22. He moved their bodies in their car, poured gasoline in it and set it afire. Firefighters found the corpses.

However, detectives working the case were able to pull photos of the man setting the fire from cameras on a nearby property and showed those images to the victims’ family and friends. They recognized the man, identified him and he was arrested.

“The video was the big break,” the captain had said.

Daniel said recent news reports of how private video of a Philadelphia woman’s abduction was used by police to track down her kidnapper and rescue her spurred her to bring up the need for more neighborhood cameras at the Nov. 6 Frankford Civic Association meeting.

Daniel said she and other members of the civic’s SafeCam committee will meet biweekly at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 4424 Frankford Ave., and report back to the civic association during members’ December meeting at Aria Health’s Frankford campus, 4900 Frankford Ave.

Pete Specos, the association’s president, said he’d like to see more people register their businesses with SafeCam, and he’d like to see more city cameras in Frankford, too. For information on SafeCam, visit http://safecam.phillypolice.com ••

Street eyes: The city has its own cameras like this one at Arrott and Griscom streets. Frankford Civic members urge owners of private security systems to make them available to police. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS