Orlando police urges homeowners to install video cameras

Police chief says crime would be down if 10% of homeowners complied

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Security cameras are everywhere, on our streets at the ATM and in just about every store or business.

Police love them because when a crime is caught on camera, they say the odds they'll make an arrest skyrockets.

In fact, the Orlando Police Department has formed a new tactical squad designed to take advantage of all the crime fighting technology available.

According to the latest market research, nearly one in four homeowners have or plan to install some sort of home security system. But only a fraction of those systems include video surveillance.

Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney told Local 6's Kala Rama that if more homeowners had video cameras, he predicts two things would happen almost immediately.

There would be fewer break-ins and his officers and detectives would clear more burglary cases.

"It's the wave of the future," said Rooney.  "I would love for every home owner to have it, but realistically in these tough economic times, it's so tough."

The latest crime statistics show overall crime is down in Orlando, but property crime and burglary are up.

"We had a slew of burglaries in Delany Park over the summer," Rooney said. "Because of videotape, we got a tag number and identified the suspects."

Makoto Schoppert is a Central Florida homeowner who has video cameras around his house. He installed them after a number of break-ins in his neighborhood.

"You don't think something like that is going to happen, you hear about it on TV, it's not going to happen to me, well it can and it did," Schoppert said.

Schoppert's cameras caught burglars in the act.

"I think it really paid off in the end, helped put this guy in jail," Schoppert said.  "It keeps him off the streets. He had a record of breaking into homes and I'm sure my house wasn't going to be the last one."

These days, there are lots of video surveillance choices. High end systems with multiple cameras that used to cost thousands are down to just hundreds of dollars to install and monitor. 

There are even "video relay" systems which streams video to your cell phone. After installation, the relay runs about 10 dollars a month.

"I could never endorse any certain company or whatever," Rooney said. "But it's a very good investigative tool. Video is very valuable."

Rooney said his department's new technology and forensics unit is a one stop shop for his officers to work any case that involves video. Cases that don't have video, investigators work them hard, but they can be tougher to solve.

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