HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - An online petition is calling for 24/7 camera surveillance in apartment complexes to be federal law. The petition would be named in respect of 3-year-old Kamille 'Cupcake' McKinney, who was abducted from a public housing complex in Birmingham.
In the same light, the Huntsville Police Department has a response to the role they want residents to play.
"It's not until we have something quite as critical or atrocious as a child coming up missing that we start analyzing this," said Huntsville Police Lt. Michael Johnson.
The Kamille 'Cupcake' McKinney Bill would make it Federal Law that all multi-residential complexes - no matter of occupant size and economic demographic - to have working cameras. The number of cameras and their placement would be per an agreement between the property owners and a federal agency, with the understanding that all cameras would be in working order and operational 24/7. That if at any time a camera or cameras are found not to be following the guidelines, then a monetary fee and/or suspension of residential license/ownership would be given. The Kamille 'Cupcake' McKinney Bill would help to ensure a level of safety and security for the family and children who live and play in these areas. Yes, there will always be evil present, however this measure would help deter and criminally address future evil deeds.
What the Huntsville Police Department is doing
'Cupcake' could be the unforgotten face of a mandate to legally require apartment complexes to have 24/7 camera surveillance. She was abducted and found dead in a dumpster ten days after being abducted from an apartment complex.
Lt. Johnson said cameras play a huge role in solving crimes.
"Had we known cameras were in use at a certain area that could help capture the suspect," said Johnson.
Law enforcement is creating a program to retrieve surveillance footage from residents. Investigators can go straight to the source without spending valuable time tracking down the potential residential video.
"What we're gonna do is take this information and place it on a map so our investigators, at the moment a crime occurs, can reach out to these individuals," said Johnson.
Surveillance cameras are affordable
Metro Investigations and Spy Supply manager Melanie Carr said families can buy affordable camera systems to protect their home.
"With the incident with 'Cupcake' and what happened with her disappearance, they're wanting to protect the kids as well," said Carr.
Carr said more people are opting for a hidden camera because it's less obvious to offenders.
"They're afraid they're gonna take that evidence and it'll be gone or they'll vandalize the cameras," said Carr.
It can be a private, commercial or residential camera. If your camera captured a crime taking place, police want to know about it when they call on you for help.
"That phone call can mean the difference in possibly saving a life or capturing a suspect before they leave our jurisdiction," said Johnson.
The new surveillance camera map could segue into investigators using private and commercial cameras to catch crime happening in real-time. Residents can start submitting information shortly after the New Year to sign up for their cameras.