Neighborhood Eyes: Arlington Police Launch Community Surveillance Camera Program

When it comes to solving crimes, Arlington Police say surveillance video is worth its weight in gold.

"Video surveillance is very valuable," said Detective Josh Gowins, who works in the Arlington Police Department's Central Investigations unit. "We've solved many cases by video surveillance alone."

Getting that video, though, can be a challenge. Unless someone calls police to say they have surveillance cameras, officers have to go door-to-door to find out where any cameras are located when they're investigating a crime.

Even then, Gowins says, there are no guarantees that person will be home when officers stop by -- and officers may not be able to recover that video before it's deleted.

That's why the Arlington Police Department has launched its new "Neighborhood Eyes" program.

"We're looking for anyone that's willing to sign up to sign up," said Gowins.

Arlington residents and businesses with surveillance cameras can fill out an online form letting police know they have cameras and providing them with contact information.

That information will then be entered into a database that only officers and detectives can access.

When a crime occurs, they can search the database and instantly connect with people in that area who have cameras that may have caught something.

"It could turn a day long canvassing project into mere minutes getting in contact with someone who has that video," said Gowins.

Gowins stresses the program does not give police the ability to tap into home or business surveillance feeds and that it's completely voluntary.

"There's no way that we can access their video without them giving it to us," said Gowins.

He says the faster police can get video, the faster they can get criminals off the streets – which is why they hope the community will get behind this.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the "Neighborhood Eyes" program and to sign up.

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