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Cedar Rapids police ask residents to register home surveillance, doorbell cams to help catch crime

The Cedar Rapids Police Department says doorbell cameras helped with a potential theft case this week.
Published: Feb. 23, 2021 at 4:44 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The Cedar Rapids Police Department says more people have registered their home surveillance cameras or doorbell cameras with the department.

In January of last year, the department called for people to do this after a recent string of burglaries. This included a home on the city’s southwest side.

At the time, the owners told TV9 they had a doorbell camera but say it wasn’t working. And they had planned to register their camera with police since then.

CRPD says surveillance systems are useful in investigations, especially as more people register their cameras with the department.

Sgt. Laura Faircloth says technology is not going away, and they want people to be proactive about crime in their neighborhood. She says any outdoor camera can be registered with their department, not just doorbell ones.

Approximately 250 home cameras are currently registered through the Cedar Rapids Police Department’s Surveillance Camera Program.

That’s 150 more than around this time last year.

By registering, Faircloth says police cannot tap into your camera at anytime and must get permission from the camera’s owner beforehand. She compares it to a neighborhood watch program.

“It’s important that we have access to that information and not another company has it due to to the fact that if there was a crime that happened at 4 in the morning, we can go on our map and say, so and so has a camera in this area. Then we can go to you and ask if you had your camera on and ask did you capture anything in this area with your camera,” Faircloth said.

From the video captured on your home camera, Faircloth says they can take a still image and share it on the department’s crime stoppers page.

From there, police can get help identifying a vehicle or person involved in a crime. Faircloth says home cameras can help solve a crime within hours rather than days or weeks.

CRPD says door cameras recently helped with a potential theft case involving someone stealing packages from the front porch of a residence on February 18.

Police have not released that footage, but they did release the home video that captured the theft of a catalytic converter on the southwest side of town on February 1.

CRPD reports from 2020 to now, there have been 43 catalytic converter thefts in the city.

Council member Ashley Vanorny said with a population just over 132,000 in Cedar Rapids, her goal is to see roughly one thousand cameras registered to help solve crimes. She reminds people that police still need to ask permission before accessing your camera.

“If there happened to be a crime in the area, then because I’ve registered that with CRPD they could ask me if I had any video from ‘this time to this time,’ and they’re really looking for that specifically,” said Vanorny.

Vanorny says people have sent her videos of shootings and animal negligence captured on their home cameras.

You can register your home camera on the CRPD website and registration is free.

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