Kent Police’s new community watch program works to reduce crime

Avery Savage Reporter

A new Kent Police Department program meant to reduce crime rates has not led to the incarceration of any suspects in its first six months. 

The city of Kent’s “Community Watch Camera Program” enlists the help of personal security cameras, such as Ring video doorbells, to capture footage of crimes in the area. With the cooperation of local residents and business, Lt. Mike Lewis hopes to create a safer community. Although this program has not led to any arrests yet, he believes in the program’s efficacy. 

“I can’t think of one incident off the top of my head where it has led to the capture and identification of anyone,” Lewis said. “We’re putting it out there on social media, so if it becomes a deterrent to crime, well, that was our goal.” 

Interested camera owners can sign up for the program via Google Form so the department can contact them when needed. Community members do not automatically grant access to their cameras by signing up, but the department can request access to assist in an investigation. 

As of January approximately 40 members registered for the program. A majority of the registered parties for the program were businesses in the downtown area, but private homeowners have also joined.

Christopher Laughton, a bar manager at 101 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, said he believes there is a need for a program like this. He said the implementation to downtown businesses would be a good idea, including his.

“It could absolutely be a useful tool,” Laughton said. “I’ve known so many people in my days here that have been assaulted, that have gotten into fights, just anything. I think the Kent Police, as of recent years especially, have been doing a lot better with working with the community.”

Lewis said he sees the importance of collaboration among police and residents to provide a safer community.

“One of the most terrific things about this program is it doesn’t require any more effort from anyone, it doesn’t require any more money of our department or of our residents in the city,” Lewis said. “It’s just about collaboration, working together and our community members taking some ownership of their city, of the downtown area.”

 Avery Savage is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].