Police recruiting homeowners in new crime-fighting attempt

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Two local police departments are using homeowners' surveillance cameras to help catch criminals (KTRK)

Surveillance video plays such a big part in helping police catch criminals, but it doesn't help if police officers don't know it exists. Now two local police departments have come up with a new way to bridge that gap.

When crooks are creeping, seconds count.

"In our business, saving time sometimes can equate to saving lives," Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway said.

In many instances, surveillance cameras catch burglars, thieves, robbers in the act. The crimes don't take long to commit, but sometimes the video takes hours for police to get.

"Sometimes this adds a day or more to the investigation," Holloway said.

So in an effort to lessen that time, Bellaire police purchased a new camera mapping program and asked homeowners to simply tell them whether they have a surveillance system.

"All we want to know is where they are and if people are willing to share the footage," Holloway said. "So far, we have three-dozen registered."

So if a crime is committed in say the 4300 block of Bellaire Boulevard, police could access an internal list with all nearby cameras, then ask homeowners to check their video. Recently, surveillance video helped catch these accused burglars and a suspected arsonist.

Oscar Uribe knows a partnership works. Last month, his sister-in-law's car was broken into outside his Rosenberg home. His neighbor's camera caught these images of the teens. Once Rosenberg police added it to their evidence, they were arrested.

"Without the cameras obviously they wouldn't have caught these guys," Uribe said.

Uribe's is a video success story Rosenberg Assistant Chief of Police Tracie Dunn hopes to build on.

This week, Dunn's department launches their version of camera mapping called neighborhood video partnership with the same concept as Bellaire's.

"It gives us knowledge of who possibly has video capabilities in their house," Dunn said.

It's community policing in its truest sense.

"This is the type of partnership the type of project that really can enhance the security and safety of the neighborhood and allow us to do our job to identify and arrest suspects to get them off the street," Holloway said.

Registering for this partnership is easy. The departments are only looking for basic information. They will have no access to your system.

To sign up for the Bellaire mapping system, visit: Bellaire Police Department's website

To sign up for the Rosenberg mapping system, visit: the Rosenberg Police Department's website
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surveillance cameraBellaireRosenberg
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