Recently, a Chicago resident called our office to request we provide public footage. Apparently, their company’s truck had been robbed in front of our clients’ establishment. She believed the business’ camera had captured the crime and wanted access to their footage. Although we sympathized with her, we denied access. Public footage from a privately owned camera is private property. Our clients’ security is our main priority and we strive to protect their privacy. After we explained our reasons to not to provide public footage, we also encouraged the caller to reach out to the building owner. If the building owner agrees to help, he/she can give access to police to view the camera’s footage. A few days later, the caller wrote a negative review on our company’s Google page. Not fair game! Let’s talk about public footage privacy and alternatives to solve similar cases.
Our clients download video footage when a crime occurs to provide evidence to police. Clients can refer to the instructor’s manual or we can also provide technical support. Technical support includes guidance to review, download, and store footage. If the time frame of the crime is not known, we reserve the right to charge a fee. This fee covers the time that our team has to spend reviewing video footage. For example, if a crime is committed overnight, the time will most-likely be unknown. Consequently, our client might request that we review hours of footage. Furthermore, Chicago residents can connect their privately own cameras to the city’s network. The City of Chicago’s website has a section for their Private Sector Camera Initiative. Chicago Police has access to all registered camera systems from the network. Nonetheless, a person who privately owns a camera system reserves the right not to provide footage unless there is an official request.
A victim of a property crime should contact police to make a report. Only police can access the city’s camera system or can request footage from a privately own camera. It’s crucial to consider that video footage is usually stored from 14 to 30 days so its crucial to act promptly. Write down the day and approximate time when you believe the crime occurred to narrow the timeline. This will help you speed up the process. Victims are often frustrated and desire for matters to be solved quickly but it’s important not to forget that camera owners are doing you a favor. You should demonstrate that you acknowledge their help throughout the process.
Understand the Illinois laws about public privacy by going here.