I’d like to plan a safe route home for my kids, within the view of your cameras. How can I find out where they are located?

Click HERE to view and print a complete map of Lancaster showing each camera’s location.

What is Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED)?

The LSC helps educate property owners, small businesses and community groups on the effectiveness of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design or CPTED (pronounced “SEP-ted”).Click HERE to learn more. Some LSC staff are certified in basic and/or advanced CPTED concepts by the nationally recognized Advanced Crime Prevention Institute.

Some common environmental design issues that can lead to criminal activity include:

  • Inadequate or misdirected lighting that creates dark areas
  • Solid or excessively high fences that obstruct view lines
  • Vacant lots full of weeds or debris, lack of trash cans and litter receptacles
  • Inappropriate or poorly maintained vegetation, including too low tree canopies
  • Lack of natural surveillance points created by blank exterior walls or bricked-in windows
  • Unsecured walkthrough areas between dwellings in attached housing

Most of these problems are easily addressed through proper design and products commonly found at major home improvement stores.

How can I get a camera on my block?

The LSC worked closely with law enforcement and the community to identify areas of greatest need for current camera locations. No camera installations beyond the 161-camera network are planned at this time. The LSC is a nonprofit community-based organization, not a government entity, and is dependent upon donations to sustain operations as well as for any potential expansion. Our current budget covers our continued operations and the maintenance of our current system, at this time we do not have excess capital funds to expand to new locations without support. While we are always looking for grants to support adding new camera locations we do not know when or if that funding will become available to us.

Has there ever been a substantiated complaint of inappropriate use or abuse of the system?

No. Since the first camera was installed in the city, the Coalition has maintained a perfect and unblemished record of service to the Lancaster community.

How did the LSC decide where the current cameras were going to be located?

Decisions were based on ensuring the broadest possible coverage across the entire City of Lancaster that our funding would allow. In the early stages, locations were chosen according to three criteria:

  1. Studies of Police reports on high crime areas
  2. Public Parks
  3. Any area where large public gatherings could take place

If you review the camera map you will see an even distribution across the city. There is no one area of the city with a much higher concentration of cameras than any other area.

Can you present any actual results that demonstrate the camera system’s effectiveness?

Yes, click HERE to view our results

Who oversees the activities of the Coalition to hold them accountable?

Like most nonprofit organizations, the Coalition is overseen by a volunteer board of directors. Board members include representatives from the business community, city police, city fire department, city residents, community organizations, the Mayor’s office and the office of the District Attorney. Read comments from Mayor Gray and D.A. Craig Stedman 

How long is video stored by the LSC? 

Any video not intended for use in a criminal case is permanently destroyed within 14 days as newer images overwrite older images on the system. Click here to read how YOU can effectively use video from our system to help crime prevention in your neighborhood >>

Who has access to LSC video? 

Strict organizational policies dictate that video evidence only be shared with law enforcement and/or the district attorney for use in criminal investigations and court proceedings.

Do Coalition cameras have “facial recognition” capabilities?

A: No. The Coalition has never used facial recognition software and has no plans to do so in the future.

Do Coalition cameras look into my home’s windows?

A: No. Coalition cameras close to private residences are digitally masked so that black boxes appear over a home’s windows when a camera is turned in that direction. Only the LSC’s monitoring supervisor and Executive Director are authorized to access the system’s privacy masking software. Window privacy masking.

What training do CSOs receive?

A: In addition to being trained on the use of the monitoring center’s technology i.e. various network components, video recording, data storage/retrieval, etc., camera system operators receive instruction in:

  • Using good judgment to recognize and report triggering events and/or criminal behavior
  • Providing accurate descriptions of individuals and events
  • Radio communications and codes used by emergency personnel
  • The law as it relates to video safety cameras
  • Ethics and accountabilities associated with monitoring public spaces
  • Diversity and cultural awareness
  • The avoidance of racial profiling and/or stereotyping
  • Evidence handling and the chain of custody
  • Internal LSC policies and procedures
  • LSC training methods and content are routinely evaluated to ensure that current research and best practices are included.

Are Camera System Operators (CSOs) screened before being trained?

A: Yes. All monitoring and office staff must pass a drug screening and criminal background check before the start of employment. They are also subject to random drug-screening throughout the year. Due to the sensitive nature of video information and privacy concerns, Coalition employees sign a confidentiality agreement that forbids them from sharing any private citizen information seen or heard during the course of carrying out their duties.

Are monitoring staff volunteers or paid employees of the LSC?

A: The Coalition employs paid staff and is considering the recruitment and training of community volunteers in the future. Currently, no volunteers monitor LSC cameras.

Where does LSC funding come from?

A: Capital funds to purchase and install the infrastructure and network of cameras were paid by public and private donations including grants and contributions from businesses, the city, the county and residents. Ongoing operational costs will come from contributions by businesses, institutions and stakeholders of all types including, small neighborhood businesses, landlords, property owners and collaborating community partners.

Why is the system operated by a nonprofit instead of the Police Department or City Government?

The LSC was born out of the Lancaster Crime Commission’s Report and designed to be a high-tech neighborhood watch program of “neighbors looking out for neighbors”. In response to citizen opinions expressed during several Crime Commission hearings, organizational founders were committed to creating a coalition of community partners and a system controlled by neither the Police nor Government. The LSC’s network of cameras is “owned” by the community. The input from these public hearings clearly indicated that the community preferred a local organization operated as a non-profit, as opposed to one owned and operated by police, government entities, or a for-profit corporation.

How can I help the LSC?

Get involved. Work with the LSC to ensure its ongoing transparency, accountability and commitment to a high ethical standard. Because the LSC is a self supporting nonprofit, we also ask individuals and businesses to support our mission by making a financial contribution in any amount. Tax deductible contributions can be made conveniently through PayPal or mailed to us at:

Lancaster Safety Coalition
P.O. Box 1591
Lancaster, PA 17608-1591

You can also support the LSC with a few simple actions:

Report neighborhood crimes and/or suspicious activities to police immediately. Get to know your neighbors and find ways to improve your neighborhood together. Correct environmental design problems on your property to deter criminal activity. Contact the LSC to assist in the coordination of neighborhood safety audits.

Public safety is everyone’s business! Deterring and solving the crimes that impact the safety and peace of our neighborhoods is a shared responsibility.

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