CONVERSE, Texas - Home security is very important, and with the evolving technology, homeowners across the country are investing in home surveillance cameras such as Skybell and Ring.
Police departments nationwide use these systems to find criminals and use video and pictures during cases. Now, the Converse Police Department is asking their community members to register their devices in its Camera Registry Program.
What are you asking homeowners and businesses to do?
"It’s a voluntary form that residents can fill out a put some on file to let us know they have video surveillance system in place in the event that something happens in and around their residence," said Capt. Robert Avella, of the Converse Police Department.
If a crime happens in the area of the registered camera, they can contact the person via email or phone and ask to review it.
"It’s not only important in the aspect of crime prevention and crime suppression, but it’s also important and the aspect of community relations wanting to make sure we're able to serve the community as best as possible," Avella said.
And the police want everyone to know this isn’t spying or using the cameras or video without the owners' permission.
"We’re not asking for access to everyone’s video surveillance. It is entirely on them to access the video surveillance and provide us with what is deemed necessary," Avella said.
Why is this camera registration so important?
"When a shooting happens or when the burglary happens, our detectives will go and canvas the neighborhood looking just for video surveillance cameras knocking on doors, hoping to make contact with people that’s very time to consume," Avella said.
But with the registration program, they can now contact the owners of the closest cameras to see if anything was caught on camera.
"We want to work with the community to make it a safe place and try to be proactive as much as we are able to do," Avella said.
How are these cameras already helping?
"From the still photographs and surveillance cameras, we are able to secure multiple arrest warrants for these individuals and recover a large quantity of stolen property," Avella said.
Avella said it could resolve vehicle and residential burglaries that are not just from Converse, but from San Antonio and surrounding agencies.
The program is in full effect and already homeowners are signing up.
"I’m hoping to get as much participation as possible from every neighborhood that we can," Avella said.
People who register for the program can be directly contacted by police whenever a crime occurs in their area.
Police said the program does not give direct access to a homeowner's surveillance feed and registration in the program can be deleted at any time.
There is no cost to register and a registrant's information will be kept confidential.
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