HCSO announces plan to use businesses' surveillance cameras

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The Harris County Sheriff's Office hopes to protect you better by broadening their view of the community. They'll do that by utilizing surveillance cameras that are already in place at dozens of businesses across the county.

If a crime happens at a business that has the Secure Watch sign in the door, the sheriff's office can tap into security cameras within seconds and pass on information to responding deputies as it happens.

"This is a private-public partnership where retail businesses have already invested in their security systems," Sheriff Adrian Garcia says. "They have just given us permission to have access when that alarm has been activated. No other time."

Dispatch can see what's happening in real-time, and pass along that information to responding deputies while they're on the way.

Nearly 60 businesses have signed on since the pilot program launched in August, including more than a dozen El Ahorro and La Michoacana meat markets. Bob Dogium, with the Delta Group, is over their security.

"That's a plus for us because it gives the law enforcement real-time information, what's going on, descriptions, perhaps descriptions of the vehicles because of the outside cameras," Dolgium says.

He tells Eyewitness News that their stores that are in Secure Watch have been hit twice since signing on. He credits the program for helping get speedy arrests in one of those.

This program was developed in-house by a major, so there's no vendor to pay. That means no additional cost to taxpayers. It's also free to sign up, but there are some minimum technology requirements.
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