RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) – Chances are, either you or someone you know has a home security system—and if your home is in Richardson, police there want to know, too.
“This is strictly a voluntary program,” says Crime Prevention Officer Mike Wieczorek. “We put you on a list of contacts, and then when something happens, we ask you to look into your system, review your footage, and then recontact us with anything you find.”
With home surveillance systems dropping in price in recent years, the security cameras have become more common… serving up ‘gotcha moments’ at the push of a button: whether that’s a delivery man behaving badly, or a crook caught in the act.
And Richardson homeowner Leo Pease knows that well. “This lady come out the house and she was crying,” says Pease, “And I said, ‘well, I’ll go back and check my camera’… and that’s when I found it.”
Sure enough, Pease’s surveillance video helped catch a burglar and recover the neighbor’s belongings. And he wasn’t alone. Home security video was showing up so often in police investigations, that crime prevention officers proposed putting together a database of homeowners who might have video to share.
“Now, they can pull up a map of the city and they can see plotted on the map everywhere that we have homes with video surveillance, so it’s become a great tool,” says Officer Wieczorek.
Signing up is simple. Just head to the Richardson police website, click on ‘Crime Prevention’ and then navigate to ‘Neighborhood Video Crime Watch’.
“That’s why they call me all the time,” says Pease with a chuckle, “I’m on their list.” And then with a thoughtful pause, “It’s a good list to be on.”
More than a hundred homeowners have signed up to share surveillance video with police and departments from as far away as Canada have asked for more information.
Pease calls the home video database the “best partnership” with the community that the police department could have—because officers, try as they might—can’t be everywhere.
“That’s why they want to depend on these cameras,” says Pease, “to see what they don’t get to see.”
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