PRINCETON — The growing proliferation of surveillance cameras around businesses and homes prompted one Mercer County police department to organize a database for future use in their investigations.

Police here are asking the locals with cameras and video to volunteer the information to them for future reference. Sgt. Christopher Tash says it's a sign of the times.

"Residents are, more and more, getting cameras put in their driveways, front yards and backyards," he said.

And when something happens within close proximity to a video surveillance system, the images can be a big help to investigators.

"Anything from motor vehicle accidents, shoplifting, burglaries," Tash said.

"Say, for instance, the burglary happened at a certain house. They (police) can look at that database and there might be cameras two doors away, where maybe they can get a picture of a car or a suspect. It might not be at the house that was burglarized, but it would still be at a house one or two down."

The program is completely voluntary on the part of Princeton residents. But Tash acknowledged that police and law enforcement routinely subpoena video from a private system if they know there may be images or information that they can use in an investigation.

Only a handful of New Jersey police departments are collecting this video cam data right now, but the numbers will surely grow in the future. Sgt. Tash says Princeton is the only department in Mercer County collecting this video surveillance database at the moment.

Princeton residents who are interested in volunteering information about their camera or surveillance system to police can go to, or they can call 609-921-2100, ext. 2184.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5