Noblesville police building database of home, business security cameras

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind.-- The Noblesville Police Department is asking any home or business owner with security cameras installed to join a contact database designed to help police quickly access video of crimes that are caught on camera.

A Monday morning post on the department’s Facebook page announced the video access program and asked residents to join it.

“Do you have a video surveillance system at your house or at your business? If so, we would love to know! We have created a video surveillance access program. This allows residents and business owners to contact us and let us know where video surveillance systems are around the city. If we investigate a crime in your neighborhood, we could reach out to you to see if your video system captured our suspect or suspect vehicle. The program is easy, just follow this link and give us some basic information about your system. That’s it. The program is voluntary and it could help your neighbor if they are the victim of a crime.”

Noblesville Police Sgt. Matt McGovern says joining the program will not give police live access to a private camera system. Those who sign up for the program will only leave contact information so police can build a list of homes and businesses that have security cameras installed.

“We don’t get access to anyone’s video unless they allow us,” McGovern said. “They just give us contact information. Then if we have an incident in their neighborhood or area, we reach out to them and ask if we can see their video.”

In essence, the video access program will be a list of names, phone numbers and address of home and business owners who have working security cameras in Noblesville. Keeping the list updated will save police time by telling them where cameras are located in relation to crimes that occur, McGovern said.

Home security cameras are becoming a more common and useful tool for police as more homeowners add surveillance cameras to their home security systems. Video from home cameras have the ability to help identify thieves and burglars.

Noblesville Police Lt. Robert Busalacci says home cameras recently helped detectives identify and prosecute a group of suspects in a rash of vehicle break-ins.

“It was juveniles that were doing the car break-ins,” Busalacci said. “And fortunately the homeowners had home video that they were able to show the suspects entering into the vehicles, stealing the merchandise.”

Home security cameras have also been used to identify suspect vehicles in neighborhood incidents. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Department recently released video of a suspect vehicle in a neighborhood hit-and-run case that seriously injured a woman while she was walking down the street of her subdivision. That case is still being investigated.

Police in Danville and Greenfield recently began compiling their own similar video access databases.  McGovern believes more police departments will follow as home security cameras continue to grow more popular.

“It’s one thing for them to tell us it was a white car, it’s another thing to see that white car,” McGovern said. “Often times we can narrow it down to a make and model just by looking at the side of the car. We don’t even need a license plate.”

The Noblesville Police Department set up a website where residents can sign up for the program.

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