FREMONT (KPIX 5) — With more crimes being caught on surveillance cameras, a growing number of Bay Area police departments are asking homeowners with the cameras to voluntarily register them so they know what is out there.

Fremont was one of the early adopters of this camera registration effort, and now cities from Vallejo to San Mateo to Santa Clara are also on the bandwagon, saying there’s not much better evidence than surveillance video.

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“Well it is really helpful for us in the aftermath of a crime that has occurred,” said Geneva Bosques of the Fremont Police Department.

The department rolled out its camera registration program more than a year ago. Since then, 285 people have registered their private camera systems.

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“We can map them out, and then we can try to determine whether any of these cameras might help us in our investigation,” Bosques said.

Fremont police said the registration process started only after people began equipping their homes and neighborhoods with cameras and sending tips to police.

“Because if we do get them on video, then we are going to put it out to the world that we now have your photograph and that we are looking for you,” Bosques said.

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Fremont police said since this program is completely voluntary they are not getting complaints of big brother.