Several residents have contacted the Association officers to ask if it would be possible for residents who have video surveillance cameras to make their footage available to the police if it would help solve a nearby crime. The Association reached out to our Police contact, Officer Whetston; he did some research and attended our April 9, 2015 meeting.
He stressed that video footage may not prevent or stop a burglary or other crime but can be a witness to help solve it.
He has been in contact with several other cities that have such programs; those police departments only track which residents have notified them they have cameras – the police do not want passwords to remotely access them even with the consent of the camera owner. Their IT departments have added “layers” to their maps and included addresses that have cameras on the maps. When a crime is reported, the officers can look at the maps and see if a camera is located nearby, then they contact the resident.
Officer Whetston also noted that although developing a formal program such as this for Austin is possible, it would be a long term process to work out the details and implement it. Citizens who want this to be considered should attend the Police Commanders forums (details below) to raise the topic and also contact their City Council representatives. Meanwhile, residents who wish to do can take other steps. There are several web sites listed below that list where recent crimes have been reported; check one or more of those. When you see a location near your camera and you have some footage for it, call 311.
All commanders forums (Northwood is in Adam sector, District 2) – www.austintexas.gov/department/commanders-forums
Information and meeting for District 2 austintexas.gov/page/district-representatives-region-2
Web sites with local crime reports
- Krimelabb, www.krimelabb.com – only for the Austin area
- Spotcrime, spotcrime.com – nationwide; can subscribe to nearby alerts by adding your address and email
- Austin Police Crime Viewer (click the link to access the map; either enter your address or choose Geographic Location and then Neighborhood; Northwood is listed)