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City of Philadelphia Commerce SafeCam Program

At last month’s PSA meeting the Commerce SafeCam Program was discussed.  One resident mentioned that this program exists although Captain McCloskey was not sure if it was in operation.  Further research by the activist resident found the details below.  It only applies to businesses.  The purpose is to get more businesses to install video cameras which can then be used by the police in crime investigation.  It becomes a partnership.  See the details below.  There are links to more information and the application.

Program Description

The purpose of the Commerce SafeCam Program is to encourage businesses and property owners within the City of Philadelphia to install surveillance cameras, making areas safer for shoppers and the community while growing their vitality and economic performance. The program reimburses owners of commercial buildings and businesses up to 50% of the total cost of eligible improvements, for a maximum reimbursement of $3,000 for a single commercial property. The digital camera security system must be installed on the outside of your building providing surveillance for your business and the public space.


Eligible Applicants

Applicants must be the owner of a commercially occupied property or an operating tenant business with approval of the property owners or an established business association or community based organization representing a number of businesses in a particular area. Applicants must be operating legally, properly registered, licensed with the City of Philadelphia and current with all City obligations, including but not limited to taxes, licenses, water revenue billings, as well as any assessments due to Business/Neighborhood Improvement Districts. Unoccupied properties may be considered but must be occupied or have a signed lease agreement to be eligible for reimbursement.


Eligible Equipment

All surveillance system equipment shall be subject to review and approval by the Philadelphia Police Department and requirements may vary by business type and property. The following are the minimum specifications required for a Commerce Safecam Program award.



1. IP-enabled.

2. Operate with a minimum of 480 Total Vertical Lines (TVL) of resolution.

3. Capable of recording color images during sufficient lighting and recording black and white images during hours of low light.

4. Tailored to each Eligible Property taking into consideration:

the distance to the target image;

the “lux rating” or compatibility with the amount of light available to include excessive amounts of sunlight; and

the view angle of camera in relation to area of desired coverage.

5. Have a clear and unobstructed view of outside areas of desired coverage.



1. DVRs must have one dedicated channel for each camera in operation.

2. Record at least 640 X 480 recording resolution levels.

3. Have the capacity to record at least fifteen (15) frames per second, per camera.

4. Have sufficient memory to retain data from all cameras for a period of at least fifteen (15) days. Possess the ability to view and retrieve data while the system remains in operation.

5. Possess the ability to produce a copy of desired data for evidentiary purposes.

6. Be placed in a locked and secured location to prevent destruction or tampering.


Application Process

1. Contact Philadelphia Department of Commerce at 215-683-2172 to request an application. The application will require:

a. Photos of your building clearly showing where surveillance camera will be located, and at least one photo showing the entire front façade of your building.

b. Estimates from two (2) licensed contractors detailing camera specifications.

c. A letter from building owner (if this is not you) granting permission for the proposed work.


2. Completed applications should be delivered to Linda Lawrence, Dept. of Commerce, 1515 Arch Street, 12th floor, Phila, PA 19102 or The applicant will be notified that the application has been received and whether anything is missing. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

3. Philadelphia Department of Commerce will send an award letter, specifying amount of reimbursement. Once received, the applicant can proceed with application for electrical permit, purchase and installation.

4. Once the cameras are installed they must be registered with the Philadelphia Police Department SafeCam crime prevention and investigating tool.

5. When registration is complete, submit copies of invoices, proof of payment, copy of a passing final electrical inspection certification, color photos of the installed cameras, and a copy of SafeCam registration to the Dept. of Commerce and a reimbursement check will be mailed out.

Additional Program Requirements

  • Economic Opportunity: As part of Mayor Nutter’s Strategic Plan for this Administration, a goal to create and retain jobs by fostering an improved business environment has been established. One of the strategies designed to achieve this end is strengthening supports to minority, women, and disabled residents and businesses. All applicants certify to make “best and good faith efforts” to include businesses owned and controlled by minority persons (MBEs), women (WBEs) and disabled persons (DSBEs) in their projects. In excercise of “best and good faith efforts” applicants for this program must solicit MBEs, WBEs and DSBEs for participation in the project. Potential M/W/DSBE project participants can be found in the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Economic Opportunity Directory of Certified Firms. Contact OEO at 215-686-6232 or review the online directory at or the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program’s Directory of Disadvantaged Business Enterprises at
  • The amount that this program is able to approve for reimbursement will not always be equal to 50% of the eligible costs or the maximum amount due to availability of funds and restrictions in how program funds can be spent.
  • Projects within areas with special design controls or within historic districts must comply with those requirements.


Link to SafeCam here.

Link To SafeCam FAQ list here.