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How home surveillance can help catch burglaries in progress

Winter park police offer tips for homeowners

WINTER PARK, Fla. – During the summer months, many Central Floridians head out of state to visit family or to take vacations.

But what do you do if your surveillance system or alarm system notifies you through your phone that a door or window has been opened?

Or worse, you see someone on real time video breaking into your home - and you can’t do anything since you are hundreds of miles away.

You can’t call 911, since you’re in a different city or state and that won’t alert local law enforcement to your home.

So who do you call when seconds count?

News 6 turned to the Winter Park Police Department with this question, especially since we have reported on two instances where homeowners have seen criminals live on their surveillance video rummaging through their homes and were able to get authorities there in time.

Winter Park Sgt. Garvin McComie said if residents find themselves in that predicament, and they live in their municipality, all they need to do is call the non-emergency number which they have clearly posted on the bottom of their website and is also listed on their Facebook page. He said that number will go straight through to dispatch day or night and will get an officer to the property immediately. He also encourages people to put that non-emergency number in your phone and in the contact section of their alarm or surveillance system.

McComie said Winter Park police have seen an increase in the number of people using remote video surveillance on their homes and businesses recently, and said it has helped their detectives solve several burglary crimes quickly.

“We have it ourselves, several officers including me have it at their home,” McComie said. “It’s good for evidence.”

McComie also said their department has an Eye-Watch program that you can sign up for on their website, which allows you to register your surveillance camera systems to assist the Winter Park Police Department in solving crimes in their jurisdiction. The department states both residential and commercial surveillance camera footage is an unprecedented asset to police departments across the nation, and help identify suspects and develop leads.

McComie said people can also call their local law enforcement agency and let them know you will be out of town, so they can go and check on your home while you are away.

 

After the News 6 inquiry, the Winter Park Police Department said it plans to push out this information on their Facebook and Twitter pages Monday, so residents can get results in their neighborhood, even from hundreds of miles away.