By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia residents and businesses have been helping police identify criminal suspects and even prevent crime through a surveillance camera program.

The SafeCam program has registered more than 4,000 security camera systems since 2011, but the police department is always looking for more.

“We want business owners and residents of our city to sign up for this program,” says Lt. John Stanford. “They remain anonymous, so it gives them the opportunity to help us solve crime and gives them the opportunity to make their neighborhood safer without them being directly in harm’s way, if you will.”

The City Commerce Department even has a program to reimburse 50% of the camera system’s cost up to $3,000 if a business or property owner installs something that complies with a list of requirements for things like resolution and web-access.

Lt. Stanford says it’s a good idea to have multiple cameras, with remote image storage, so if the bad guys break the camera, the image remains safe:

“If they think that they can disable the recording device they may attempt to do so, so to have that in a remote location is always a great thing.”

Lt. Stanford adds each police district has a crime prevention officer who can be helpful in picking the right system.

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