Surveillance cameras on the rise: A new trend or a new way to commit crime?

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Reported by: Angela Hong
Updated: 2/17 10:32 pm Published: 2/17 10:30 pm

Since 9/11 there has been a boom in the use of public surveillance cameras.

In the last year, they even played a key role in identifying the Boston bombing suspects.

However, FOX23 learned that the use of security cameras in and on private homes is also on the rise.

We uncovered how the cameras are helping local police but we also explored the concerns about this trend.

You may not always notice them but they are there.

Whether it's the mall, the post office or the gym, security cameras are watching.

But now, more and more, they are also on homes in your neighborhood.

Robert Klevin of Tulsa put his system in last year after he had a package stolen at his door.

However, he was never able to get his money back for the stolen goods, “The company was basically like, It's your word against theirs. Hey this package wasn't deliver why should we pay for it,” Klevin explained.

With his security cameras in place and rolling, he was able to catch another theft earlier this month.

“You see him removed the mat and take the box and walk off with it like it was his,” Klevin said as he showed us the thief on tape.

Police say this man made away with $500 worth of clothes.

“A lot of time it's how we're solving our crimes,” said Muskogee County Sheriff Charles Pearson.

Pearson told FOX23 this trend has helped his investigations.

“A homicide for example, one out of five neighbors have a surveillance system at their place. So when you canvas the neighborhood, the first thing you ask them is, do you have any cameras? Pearson explained.

He says burglaries are up in Muskogee County and he feels private security cameras act as a deterrent.

“It's going to put something in their mind... Boy there are cameras out here,” said Pearson.

Crime isn't what's necessarily pushing this trend.

“Back in 2003 a camera system would have run $4,500. Now you're talking $699. It's a big difference,” Pearson said.

Richard Stremlow of Video Surveillence says the cost of these systems have gone down significantly and they are much more user friendly.

Klevin's system only cost about $300.

But as the use cameras increases there are some issues that raise concern.

We have had problems with neighbors pointing neighbors at their other neighbors.

This woman in particular was a single mother and she had a serious problem.

They went through the judge and he made him point in another direction but still keeping the eye on their property.

They can also be used to commit crimes.

“If you're using it in a commission of a crime. To see when police are coming. That's an extra charge,” said Pearson.

The Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said it's much more concerned about the government's use of surveillance cameras.

However officials believe any footage captured by someone on their private property should be willingly handed over to police.

Klevin was more than happy to share his.

He hopes this footage helps police identify whoever stole this package.

He plans to add at least one more camera to his system.

For him, these cameras give him peace of mind.

“I actually feel more protected by it,” Klevin explained.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Unwashed Mass - 2/17/2014 11:52 PM
2 Votes
"officials believe any footage captured by someone on their private property should be willingly handed over to police" just like police willingly hand over dashcam video.
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