CHICAGO (CBS) — Rev. Michael Pfleger, the activist priest who has crusaded for decades against gun violence in Chicago, was urging people to use a new weapon people to make their neighborhoods more peaceful: their cellphones.

Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Auburn-Gresham, said if enough people would use the cameras on their phone to record shootings and other violence in their communities, it might lead to a reduction in violent crime.

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However, Pfleger said witnesses should be smart about when they pull out their camera; he said they shouldn’t put themselves in harm’s way, but do it discreetly – from porches, gangways, or from behind windows.

“If somebody’s shooting at you, you’re not going to turn around and videotape it. More often than not, this happens in blocks where there’s other people in the block; across the street, down the street. Turn on your cameras,” he said.

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Pfleger said cellphone video cameras already have been used to successfully expose incidents of excessive force or other abuses by police, so it’s time to also turn the camera lens on criminals.

“Turn on your cameras. Videotape not only the people, videotape the car, videotape license plates,” he said.

The priest suggested people turn such videos to the authorities, but “If you don’t want to turn them in to police, put them on YouTube, turn them in to St. Sabina, turn them in to some church or some organization.”

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An analysis of shootings so far this year in Chicago indicated there have been more than 1,000 since Jan. 1.