By Natasha Brown

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The images are often gripping — surveillance video capturing crime as it happens throughout the city of Philadelphia.

Here, a 75-year-old man falls victim to a robbery and assault inside this Getty food market off Broad Street.

He’s left battered, but the clear image of his attacker left police with enough evidence to make an arrest.

“Anybody that has a surveillance camera can sign up for this,” Lt. John Stanford of Philadelphia Police said.

Lt. Stanford touts the effectiveness of the city’s SafeCam program.  Over the last two years, some 600 businesses and residents have registered their surveillance cameras with police, allowing them to amass a database of videos that have helped to solve many crimes.

“Right now we have posted a little over 300 videos. But since we’ve done this, well over 200 people have been arrested and taken off the street as a result,” Lt. Stanford said.

There is example after example of suspects being arrested after video surfaces of a crime.

Surveillance video is proving to be more and more crucial when it comes to solving crimes. That’s why Philadelphia Police are urging more businesses, even residences, to register with the SafeCam program.

Mark O’Connor is part owner of Irish Pub in Center City.  When bicycles belonging to police were stolen outside of his business after a fundraiser, neighborhood cameras picked up the vehicle involved in the theft, which ultimately led to the arrest of a suspect.

“They immediately started canvassing the area looking for surveillance cameras. They quickly started getting discs and footage from cameras,” O’Connor said.

“Once they have that video, get it out to citizens,” Lt. Stanford said.

Anyone registered with the SafeCam program remains anonymous. The purpose of the program is to protect the citizens involved — and capture the alleged criminals whose faces become the center of attention.

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