Many residents and visitors know that Chicago has a high level of crime and unresolved hit-and-run traffic accidents. To help combat the crime and find those who commit hit-and-runs, law enforcement officers are asking and encouraging people who live or own businesses around the city to register their private cameras with the Chicago Police Department.
As a result, you may be able to protect yourself, family members, friends, neighbors, loved ones, and anyone else walking by your residence or company location who may be in danger or simply need help finding the person who caused their car accident or injuries.
How does the camera registration process work in Chicago, IL?
The camera registration process in Chicago is completely free and voluntary for those who reside or run a business or establishment somewhere in the city. Police officers are aware of the fact that many people who live and work in the Windy City have cameras to keep them, their family members, and their employees safe. However, by registering your private camera with the city of Chicago, you may be able to also help other drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, neighbors, and anyone else who makes their way past your home or building.
When a crime or accident occurs in front of or close to your house or establishment, there is a good chance that your camera footage recorded the incident. For example, if the Chicago Police Department responds to a hit-and-run accident directly across the street from your residence, they may decide to do an investigation and ask to view your camera footage to find the person responsible. However, you can make this process a lot faster and easier if your private camera is already registered with the police department.
By choosing to register your camera with the police department, you are giving law enforcement officers permission to reach out to you and request to look at the footage recorded by your camera if an accident or crime occurs in your area. Sometimes, the accident may have happened down the street, but there could be a possibility that your camera showed the person’s face or distinct features if they stopped or slowed down in front of your residence.
Some people may be under the impression that if they decide to register their private camera that police officers can come to their home or business at any time and demand to see the footage or even have direct access to their camera from the police department. However, this is not the case, and you are not required to allow them to review or see the footage if you do not want to.
My neighbor was walking her dog when a driver hit her and fled the scene. What should I do with the footage from my camera?
If your neighbor was walking her dog and a driver struck her and fled the scene, you may want to help her by showing the police your camera footage. This may be your neighbor’s only option to catch the at-fault party and hold them accountable. If this or a similar scenario is the case for you, it is recommended that you either call your local police department or provide the evidence to your neighbor’s attorney.
You can go online and register your personal camera with the police department at any time and ask that they make the time to come view your footage if you believe that it can help solve a crime. Your neighbor may also already have a car accident lawyer to whom you can provide your camera footage to be used as evidence to prove who the driver is, how the accident occurred, the type of vehicle the person was driving, and more.
Can a lawyer seek a subpoena to view my private camera footage?
While you certainly have every right to refuse to allow anyone to look at your private camera footage, you should be aware of the fact that lawyers can seek a subpoena to still get this footage if they feel like it will benefit their client’s case. In addition, a law enforcement officer can get a warrant to look over your camera footage and use the evidence as part of their case. Therefore, regardless of whether you refuse to allow anyone to view your private camera footage, there are still ways that attorneys and officers can obtain the footage and use it for their cases, especially if it is registered with the city.
If you are a friend or a family member of someone who has a private camera that you believe could be beneficial to your case, why WOULDN’T they show their footage, right? With so many hit-and-runs, every little bit helps. But the truth is that there could be many reasons why they are refusing. So if this is the case, as frustrating as it might be, we may have to subpoena the footage as part of the process. It could take longer, but we’ll do whatever we can to get it if we think it will help. Note: folks who register their cameras with Chicago PD do have the right to refuse requests for access or copies by the Chicago PD. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have legal options available to get it.
If you are involved in a hit-and-run accident in Chicago, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a car accident attorney from Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers at your earliest opportunity. Our legal team has more than 20 years of experience assisting clients with these types of cases, and we are more than happy to provide you with the same helpful legal advice and guide you through the difficult and complex legal system. Our lawyers are aware of how frustrating hit-and-run accidents are, which is why we will do everything that we can to make sure the legal process remains as smooth and stress-free as possible for you. Call our offices or fill out our contact form to request a free appointment to ask any questions or discuss your potential hit-and-run case today.
Attorney Neal Gainsberg has spent the last 20+ years fighting to protect the rights of the injured in Chicago and throughout Illinois. For dedicated legal help with a personal injury, car accident, or wrongful death matter, contact Gainsberg Injury and Accident Lawyers in Chicago for a free consultation.