Using residential surveillance cameras to help solve crimes

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O’FALLON, IL (KTVI) – Cracking down on crime using home and business surveillance cameras; it’s a new idea the O'Fallon Police Department hopes will catch on.

As the price of home surveillance cameras have come down, more of them are being used by residents. O’Fallon police are asking people to register their cameras to let police know they’re up and recording – if needed.

“It’s an extra set of eyes and ears in community, because we can’t be everywhere at every time,” said Capt. Kirk Brueggeman, O’Fallon Police Department.

If police know a residence has a camera that points to the street, they can ask the residents to voluntarily check their camera system to see if they have anything that would help their investigation.

“It’s not the holy grail of law enforcement, but it is another tool in our arsenal for finding people and solving crimes,” Brueggeman said.

O’Fallon, Illinois has over 200 cameras online on public buildings, public areas, and parks, but help from businesses like local gym C1 Fit has already paid dividends in the past.

“If it’s a way to help police department in my town, then I’m all for it,” said Chris Gilbert, owner of C1 Fit.

Brueggeman said police could only find a few departments nationwide using a camera registration system and none—to his knowledge—in the St. Louis area.

“The more cameras out there the better because it keeps people honest,” he said.

Police stressed this would be a volunteer program that’s both confidential and private. Only police would know you have a camera.

“Within a half-hour of asking the public on Facebook last night, we had five or six different residents and businesses register their cameras with our program, so it’s starting to work,” Brueggeman said.

Anyone interested in registering their home or business security cameras can do so by visiting the O’Fallon Police Department’s Facebook page.

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