Peoria police see success with camera database

Posted at 6:06 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-04 07:42:59-05

Just weeks after unveiling the Peoria Safe Cam Program, Peoria police say people are offering up their home surveillance cameras to keep an eye out for crime.

"We don't have access to get into them; we can't control them, if you tell us you don't want to give us the video, that's fine,” Officer Brandon Sheffert said. 

The Peoria Police Department say citizen-provided camera video is proving to be an invaluable asset to hold criminals accountable.

Police point to a story ABC15 aired in December 2015, as a prime example. A burglar was caught on a home surveillance system taking $1,500 worth of items from the back of a truck.

"You guys have put out several things for us, and we’ve had pretty quick results, within 24 hours of getting suspects identified,” Sheffert said. 

That suspect recently pled guilty to the crime. 

Police are hoping to use the popularity of home surveillance systems to their advantage.

"We request certain information, name, phone number, address, who's in charge of the cameras, where are the cameras, what do they cover, what direction the cameras point?" he said.

The program allows people to voluntarily sign up, giving police a database of who has cameras installed. The goal here is to cut down on time canvassing neighborhoods for cameras, and make crime fighting more efficient.

If police get wind of a crime, and your camera happens to be in the area, they may ask you for a look.

Some homeowners say, if it helps police keep crooks out of their neighborhoods, they’re all for it.

"There's cameras everywhere, we drive on the street, so it doesn't really matter if they take our personal information, as long as they don't grab it and keep it,” Tammy Taft, who has several home surveillance cameras, said. 

The program uses your existing cameras, and Peoria police are not handing any out. If you want to help police and sign up for the database, click here.