ADDISON (CBSDFW.COM) - A new eye in the sky is giving crime fighters in Addison an incredible tool to watch the streets.
When a group of teenagers started a fire behind a Grand Prairie strip mall last year, they were soon arrested. Not because it was captured on video by a security camera, but because there was someone watching that camera as it happened.
“It’s kind of exciting,” property owner Michael Zimmerman said. “I like to see the bad guy get his.”
Zimmerman owns that shopping center along with four others. He’s also a client of Stealth Monitoring, a company that businesses can hire to monitor surveillance cameras 24 hours a day from their North Dallas office.
They can even talk criminals out of their crimes, such as with a copper thief who was spotted climbing a roof across from Cowboys Stadium earlier this year. Or with a suspected drug deal in the parking lot of a Dallas mall.
Those watching the cameras call authorities after witnessing a break in. And now Addison Police have direct access to the cameras as well.
“If the Stealth people see something that’s suspicious, they can push that video into the Addison dispatch center,” said David Margulies, department spokesman.
Security cameras too often are only used as a deterrent or capture crimes long after they happen. But property owners said live monitoring of their cameras have thwarted as many as 20 crimes in two years.
“I can tell you that I’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on damage,” Zimmerman said. “In the past year I haven’t spent anything on damage.”
Addison plans to eventually make the videos accessible on officer’s cell phones. So the next time a burglar hides in a Dumpster and is caught on a stealth monitored camera, the officers answering the call will know precisely where to find him before they even get there.