Grand Prairie Police Use Video Tech to Fight Crime

Alarm systems will send video to police when crime is occurring

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A camera the size of an apple can take 10 seconds of video and send it to police if a crime is occurring. Grand Prairie police hope technology can help them catch more criminals. (Published Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012)

    Grand Prairie police hope use of the latest video technology can help put more criminals behind bars.

    The police department announced on Tuesday a partnership with video alarm companies for a program that uses small cameras that can send footage directly to police when a crime is occurring.

    The alarm device, which is about the size of an apple, has a motion-sensing camera that can take 10 seconds of video when armed and activated, said Keith Jentoft, president of Videofied. The alarm company sends the video clips directly to law enforcement.

    "We're trying to alert police as fast as we possibly can if there is a real crime, so you can catch them in the act, as opposed to looking on a DVR tomorrow of a crime that happened today," he said.

    The quick notification helps police be aware of their surroundings.

    "It provides valuable information to our officers that are responding, that [they] can get visual confirmation of the suspect descriptions while they're on the way to the call," said Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye.

    Business owner Monty Barnett said he's used the video alarm system for more than four years. He said he's had close calls that were caught on camera and confronted a trespasser.

    "I asked the individual, 'Did you go over there? You shouldn't be over there,'" Barnett said. "And he said, 'No, I never did.' Then I got the video on my smartphone and showed him and he just kind of [said], 'Oh. OK.'"

    Dye said criminals should know that Grand Prairie police are going to be more aggressive at identifying and apprehending them.

    The department is handling video intrusion alarm responses as higher priority, "in-progress" calls. Officers are also responding to all other alarm calls as usual.

    The alarm device has helped law enforcement divisions in different states make more arrests.

    Case studies in California and Michigan show a 70 percent apprehension rate at Detroit Public Schools and apprehension rates of 19 percent or higher in California as compared to a 0.08 percent rate on traditional alarms.

    Initial Texas studies showed an apprehension rate of more than 25 percent.

    Grand Prairie is the first in North Texas to have the program.

    Dye said 98 percent of typical alarm calls are false alarms. He said he expects the number to drastically drop with the video technology.

    He said he also anticipates a rise in apprehension rates, especially considering that the rate is less than 1 percent for traditional alarm responses.