Cops catch crooks with help of residents who have home surveillance cameras

- A silent witness is helping an area police department solve crimes.  It’s happening in Deer Park where police are working with residents to put more bad guys behind bars.  They are teaming up with residents who have home surveillance cameras to catch crooks. It’s called the Silent Witness program and it’s working.

This is another tool for police to use, another way to keep a watchful eye even when an officer is nowhere around.

“Citizens who have external camera systems can give us their contact information and a brief description of where the camera system is located.  I store that in a database and our investigators can use that to help solve crimes,” explains Deer Park Police Department Lt. Frank Hart. 

Deer Park PD has compiled a list of every homeowner with an outdoor home camera who’s willing to take part.  

“If there’s a crime in that area that the camera might have captured, then we go directly to the homeowner and ask if we can see the video,” says Lt. Hart.  That way investigators aren’t driving around after a crime trying to figure out who has cameras and playing phone tag with residents to view the video.

“Time does matter."   Without time to sell the stolen goods criminals are getting caught with them instead and Deer Park detectives are getting more confessions.

“While we’re talking to suspects we can show them 'hey here’s the video' and a lot of times they’ll say yeah that’s me.”  Deer Park PD has solved seven crimes this year using the Silent Witness program.

When most residents hear what officers are doing, they respond with three words: sign me up.

Margaret Bates says her family joined the program for one reason.  "Get the bad people off the streets." 

Sometimes it gives investigators hard evidence in a case when they otherwise wouldn’t have any.

Deer Park has been contact by other departments who now want to implement the program into their force.  The program is open to home and business owners.  To join, call Lt. Hart at 281-930-2142.

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