D.C. Government Now Offering Rebates for Private Security Cameras

Photo by Victoria Pickering; Creative Commons; Flickr

Photo by Victoria Pickering; Creative Commons; Flickr

A new security camera rebate program is making it easier for D.C. residents to buy and install private security cameras.

Residents, businesses, and religious organizations in several D.C. wards can now apply for rebates to purchase and install security cameras on their buildings, as a part of the government’s  Private Security Camera Incentive Program.

The D.C. camera initiative will allow some owners and tenants to receive up to $200 per individual camera (there is a cap of $500 total per residence or $750 for commercial properties).

Offering security camera rebates is “another step to deter crime and assist police during investigations,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser in a statement. Police will be able to request video footage from camera owners to investigate crimes, but will not have access to live video feeds, the mayor’s office said.

In addition to capturing crime as it happens, the mere presence of video surveillance can deter intrusion altogether. Some systems also work like a motion detector to alert owners when something may be amiss.

The program will roll out first to applicants who live in these Police Service Areas (PSAs):

  • MPD First District: 104, 105, 107, 108
  • MPD Second District: 202, 207, 208
  • MPD Third District: 302, 303, 305
  • MPD Fourth District: 402, 403, 405, 409
  • MPD Fifth District: All PSAs
  • MPD 6th District: 602, 603, 604, 608
  • MPD 7th District: All PSAs

Applicants can identify their property’s PSA online. Only those in the priority PSAs can apply for now, but it will be opened up to anyone after August 1 — provided the program’s $500,000 budget has funding remaining.

Security cameras must be installed on the exterior of the building and need to meet minimum requirements — including 250 GB of storage for digital cameras (125 GB for analog) and 1280x720 screen resolution (640x480 for analog).

Recommended specifications are even higher. The ideal digital security camera will feature:

  • High video quality and at 15 frames per second
  • Camera resolution of 3 Megapixels
  • Screen resolution of 2048x1536 screen resolution
  • 2.5 TB of storage

The security cameras must have been purchased and set up after September 22, 2015. The property owner must also register the cameras with the Metropolitan Police Department in order to qualify for the rebate.

Qualified property owners or tenants can apply online for the rebate. The application requires:

  • Proof of purchase of the cameras
  • Proof of registration with MPD
  • Proof of installation
  • If the applicant is the tenant, proof that the property owner consents to the security cameras and rebate application

After the application is approved, it make take up to 45 days to process and send the rebate to the applicant.

Councilmember Charles Allen (Ward 6) authored the bill that ultimately led to the rebate program. He hopes the video surveillance will deter crime “by adding extra eyes on the street.”