HOUSTON - It’s the kind of thing that makes you really mad: people stealing stuff you work hard for right off your property and getting away with it.
These crimes happen every day in the Houston area and usually go unsolved.
Harris County Precinct 1 believes that’s starting to change.
Constable Alan Rosen is crediting vigilant homeowners with surveillance cameras for helping his office make arrests in a number of recent cases.
“We’re noticing the more we investigate crimes in the Heights and other areas of Precinct 1, people do have video surveillance,” Rosen explained. “In some cases, it’s the only evidence we have to make a case.”
Rosen said he’s so impressed with the help his office is getting from citizens that he’s created a plan to use their assistance on a routine basis.
“We’re gathering data from each block to determine what house has surveillance cameras and then we put the address in our system,” Rosen said.
Harris County Precinct 1 is working to create a comprehensive database to illustrate which homes are equipped with cameras.
Rosen said the data his office has so far has come from email blasts as well as intel from previous investigations. He told KHOU 11 News that he’ll go door to door if he has to.
He hopes to have a map competed in about six months.
“In the event that a crime happens in the area, we’ll be able to go to your house, and say, hey, we need to look at your footage, a crime happened two doors down, or a getaway car may have come down your street,” Rosen said.
Houston Heights and the surrounding areas appear to have one of the highest concentrations of homes with surveillance systems.
A homeowner in the Heights area believes his cameras will help authorities make an arrest in the theft of his bike on Monday afternoon.
“It’s not about the bike. I’m not a materialistic person. It’s about the safety of the neighborhood,” David Anzola said.
Anzola said it took police about five hours to respond. By then, he already drummed up a number of valuable tips on his own from social media.
Anzola even received a possible name on the suspect after posting the video on Facebook.
“If you wanted the bike, you could’ve easily knocked on my door, and I would’ve given it to you. You decided to steal from me, so you’re not going to get away with it,” Anzola said.
Anzola installed the cameras about a month ago after his wife’s tires were slashed. He said the surveillance system came with a price tag of about $300 and feels it is worth every penny.
(© 2016 KHOU)