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Have a security camera? South Bend police want to know

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It's one of South Bend Police Department's goals for 2015: Using surveillance video in a faster, smarter way to help catch criminals.

It's in the idea stage right now, but this list would include business owners and maybe even homeowners, who have security cameras on their property. The registry would include their contact information, so that in an emergency, police would know who to call to get that footage, saving valuable time.

Lisa Pryor is the owner of Madi's Mart, a convenience store in the heart of downtown South Bend.

There are four security cameras in her store.

"There's two up front, two in the back," Pryor says. "We pretty much have every inch, every corner covered."

Pryor says there haven't been any incidents requiring her to show any of the footage to police, but if something were to happen, she'd give them her video in a heartbeat.

"Sometimes it's really hard to solve things, and (security footage is) the best way to do it and they can't really argue with you because you see them do it," Pryor explains.

South Bend Police already utilize security camera footage in their investigations, but this list would make it easier and faster to get access to that video.

"If we had the registry, we would know who's got cameras and what the quality is up front, it should aid the investigation," says Capt. Scott Hanley of the South Bend Police Dept.

This registry would tell police not only who's got the cameras, but also how long they kept the footage, and what kind of system they use.

Police can contact the business right away to get access to that video, saving time that could be better spent tracking down suspects.

"Obviously, it would make our job easier, and the businesses, everyone wants to live in a safe community," Hanley says.

"To me, it makes sense," says Pryor. "I could totally understand why they would do it."

Cities including Chicago, Philadelphia and San Jose already have private security camera registries in place.

South Bend Police say they're hoping camera owners will volunteer to be added to the list, but note that some cities require it by law.

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