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New SCRAM video program launched in New Tec: Criminals beware

January 13, 2022   ·   0 Comments

The Nottawasaga OPP and the Alliston Business Improvement Association (Alliston BIA) have partnered to share footage from private video cameras, owned by area merchants and property owners, to prevent and solve crime in the downtown core.

The partnership has created the “Security Camera Registration and Mapping” program, or SCRAM program.

With funding provided by the Police Services Board, SCRAM, launched in November of 2021, has already led to the quick apprehension in a theft of lights from town centre.

“[SCRAM] reduces the amount of investigation time needed for police to canvass local businesses for camera footage following the report of a crime,” said Constable Ian Michel with the Caledon OPP Detachment in a statement. “The program proved effective after a local Alliston business experienced a theft of Christmas lights. The business was part of the SCRAM Program and officers were quickly able to access camera footage and identify the suspects. Two adult males were identified in relation to this theft, and further investigation revealed the second male had several warrants of which he was arrested for. Police were able to recover and return the stolen property to the business owner.”

Alliston BIA Director Lachlan McGurk brought this initiative to the Board of Directors’ attention as another contribution to the Alliston BIA’s “Safe Downtown” campaign. Director McGurk had been working with Sgt John Buligan of the OPP on a collaboration with the downtown businesses to “elevate the other safety programs in Alliston.”

Downtown businesses are supportive of the program with many signing up to have the cameras installed at the initial launch announcement.  

“The businesses know the importance of a clean, safe downtown where visitors feel welcome and want to stay. It’s all part of the RURBAN [the best of rural and urban combined] experience,” said Alliston BIA General Manager Linda Spurr.

Initially at the launch of this program in November the Alliston BIA had 15 businesses throughout their catchment area register to have the cameras installed on their buildings.

“Several other businesses followed up with their interest as well, and the program will continue to roll out as more businesses are added,” said Spurr. “Leading by example, the first camera installed was on Bern’s Flowers and Gifts along the West end of Victoria Street.

Businesses with cameras are offered a rebate incentive from the Alliston BIA once the cameras are installed to the specifications required – with the business maintaining ownership, care and control of the cameras, and monitoring centres. OPP access to footage taken by the cameras is at the owners’ discretion as necessary. Signage indicating participation in the SCRAM program is posted throughout the downtown core.

“[These cameras and signs] also serve as a deterrent to those who may be wavering on committing any crime, as they know they’re now being watched 24 hours a day,” said Alliston BIA Director McGurk.

Alliston BIA General Manger Spurr says the SCRAM program is beneficial to the whole community and she don’t see any drawbacks, only success.

“The Alliston BIA has several programs in place to ensure that visitors and the business community all feel safe and this new collaboration with the OPP elevates the ABIA’s other initiatives,” said Spurr. “They have also joined forces with the Alliston Lions Club ‘Safe Business’ program where the downtown businesses serve as a block parent type area that anyone who feels uncomfortable or concerned for their safety can enter the business and get help immediately. Also, as part of their beautification projects, the Alliston BIA has also been investing in a graffiti removal program for years to ensure the downtown stays clean and free from graffiti tagging. These programs compliment each other as we continue to maintain a safe, welcoming environment for our community.”

The future of this program is really up to the downtown businesses. 

“As they see the benefit in having security cameras on their buildings and continue to purchase such, the Alliston BIA Board foresees continued success of this program,” said Spurr. “As with every project and event, the Alliston BIA will evaluate the data collected and re-evaluate their financial incentives to this program each year. Regardless of the rebates offered by the ABIA, many of the downtown businesses agree that there is always a benefit in working with community partners.”

Beyond the case of the stolen lights, the OPP has used footage taken by a SCRAM enrolled camera to obtain information leading to the identification of a perpetrator.

“And while there have been no further instances in the past month, the Alliston BIA anticipates that as more cameras are installed, the benefit of this program will be prevention,” said Spurr.

If you are a business or property owner in Alliston and are interested in participating in the program, please contact the OPP Nottawasaga Detachment at 705-434-1939.

By Wendy Gabrek



         


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