Police test system to catch crooks in the act

By Laura Geller - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It's the very latest in technology and could be coming to your neighborhood to fight crime.  Local police are testing a new security system that catches crooks in the act.

Richmond and Chesterfield Police are looking into it.  State and Henrico Police are already using it to make you safer.

This new technology is a combined motion detector and camera and it's being credited with dozens of arrests.

Video clips show suspects walking the halls of a Detroit school to cause some major destruction with a sledgehammer.  If it weren't for a small device, police wouldn't have been able to make 45 arrests in just the four weeks it was tested in the Detroit Public School System.

Richmond City Council members got an inside look at the kit sold by the Richmond Alarm Company.  Manager Corey Boggs explained how it works.  When the motion detector is activated, a ten second video clip is sent to monitors.  Then, the center decides whether it's a false alarm or police need to be called.

"Now with silent activations the police want the intruder to still be on site," Boggs said.  "They want to catch the person in the act, on the property, convict them and get them off the streets."

The equipment can be placed anywhere.

The system operates on a battery with a four year life span so there's no need for an electrical outlet.  Video is transmitted over cell signal with an internal SIM card, eliminating the need for the wires of a phone line.

That video file can be emailed directly to the police, including the officer responding to the scene.

"That's situational awareness," said Boggs.  "That's appropriate response.  That's not driving past the person who just committed the crime on the street because you didn't know what they looked like."

Each kit costs $2500, plus monthly monitoring and cell service fees.

Boggs thinks it works best for crimes like vandalism and illegal dumping; also, in places where police need to stop strings of incidents.  Virginia Commonwealth University Police will get a demonstration Thursday.

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