A look at local surveillance mapping programs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — For years now, several local police departments have been using surveillance mapping programs with different degrees of success in their community.

The program uses video captured by home security cameras, and cameras at most businesses to help identify people who are committing a crime.

Ring doorbells and security cameras are a great tool for both the homeowner and police when a particular neighborhood is being targeted by those looking for the perfect opportunity to steal.

We see video captured by security cameras all the time whether it’s someone breaking into a vehicle, or someone’s home. Police in Gates are currently investigating a case where an intruder broke into a woman’s house on Moncrest Drive and told her to give him money.

Lt. Robert Long told us neighbors with Ring security cameras are helping to catch the suspect.

"I can’t quote too much on an active investigation, but we’re getting a lot of video coming in from that area. We used the app just like we have been on major cases put out in our area, and lot of residents are sharing what they have," Long said.

The department has been using its surveillance mapping program for more than a year now. Long says it has been very effective in at least three major cases that ended with some arrests.

"Sometimes it’s just tying up that little piece of maybe a car, or suspect to a certain area close by, and it just helps build a case for us," Long said.

Brighton Police started using the program four years ago. Although it’s used from time to time, Chief David Catholdi does admit that the program isn’t being used to its full potential.

"If we could post information on there, and we have done it before on a more frequent basis to push it out to the Ring subscribers. The reason why we don’t necessarily use that is because not everybody is a Ring subscriber," Catholdi said.

Once used heavily by the Ogden Police, Chief Chris Mears said the proliferation of cameras now has become too cumbersome to continue with the program.

"So at this point, we’re not really tracking those cameras. If we do have an event, or crime in the area, we will just go ahead and contact people, canvass by foot, or by cars to see who has cameras in the area that might have footage," Mears said.

The Brighton Fire Department has just started using a surveillance mapping program, not to help fight crimes, but to help share fire prevention tips within the town.