New voucher program helps low-income District residents get free home security cameras

- D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is launching a new voucher program to help low-income district residents get free home-security cameras.

The Private Security Camera Voucher Program is open to residents who either rent or own a property and who receive public assistance from one of the following programs: General Assistance for Children, Emergency Shelter Family Services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Program on Work, Employment, and Responsibility, or Interim Disability Assistance.

District seniors will also be able to receive private security cameras through the Safe at Home Program.

In 2016, Bowser launched the Private Security Camera Incentive Program which provides rebates for security camera systems. Her office says they have funded the installation of more than 5,500 cameras across all eight wards with this program.

The Mayor's office also says D.C. police have used camera video to aid in criminal investigations and the apprehension of suspects.

To qualify for the Private Security Camera Voucher Program, applicants are required to submit responses to application questions and proof of current receipt of public assistance from one of the following programs:

            (1)        General Assistance for Children;
            (2)        Emergency Shelter Family Services;
            (3)        Temporary Assistance for Needy Families;
            (4)        Program on Work, Employment, and Responsibility; or
            (5)        Interim Disability Assistance.

Upon determining eligibility, a third party entity will arrange a time with the applicant to install the camera system.

Once the cameras are installed and registered with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), officers will be able to request the video footage from owners while investigating criminal activity that may have occurred in the vicinity of the camera. In addition, the cameras will help serve as a deterrent to anyone considering a crime against a property – like burglaries and package thefts. MPD will not have live video access to the cameras.

Until August 31, 2017, the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants will accept applications only from residents whose property is located in the following Police Service Areas (PSA):

District PSA
First -  103, 104, 105, 107, 108
Second -  202, 207, 208
Third - 302, 303, 305, 307, 308
Fourth - 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 409
Fifth - All PSAs
Sixth - 601, 602, 603, 604, 608
Seventh - All PSAs

District seniors who live in these PSAs can apply through the Safe at Home program or by contacting the DC Office on Aging at (202) 724-5626.

Beginning September 1, 2017, voucher program applications will be accepted from residents in any PSA. A PSA Finder is available to assist residents in locating their PSA.

More information about the Private Security Camera Voucher Program is available at ovsjg.dc.gov. Eligible residents are encouraged to apply. Residents who do not qualify for the Private Security Camera Voucher Program can apply for a rebate through the Private Security Camera Rebate Program.

FOX 5's Bob Barnard spoke with Ken Wood at Strosniders Hardware in Bethesda, who said many of the new security systems are wireless and can be checked remotely from your phone. He said, with just a couple of screws, many can be installed by the homeowner. Some also feature solar power options.

Wood said for an additional fee, a recording option can be added so that video can be captured can be preserved. Click here for more information.

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