GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The popularity of video doorbells has police cautioning homeowners about how and when they share videos of possible crimes.
Stolen packages, suspicious characters and home burglaries have all been captured by the cameras popping up on more homes’ entryways.
But some in law enforcement say the ease of sharing these videos means neighbors often see them before police do.
“We’ll start getting calls about a video that’s already out there,” said Garland Police Lt. Pedro Barineau.
Barineau says people have wound up being falsely accused on social media.
“Everyone out there is saying this person committed a crime, when in reality they didn’t,” he said.
It can also hinder an investigation if the criminal knows what police are looking for.
“They’re going to change their clothing. They perhaps may change their appearance. They’re going to change the car they’re driving,” said Lt Barineau
Police are asking people to call 911 and report crimes or suspicious activity to them first.
“When the officer arrives, let them know you have video,” said Lt. Barineau.
Before you share, they also say, you may want to ask.
“Because the detective is going to be able to say, I’ve already identified that person, don’t put that video out yet,” he said.