DETROIT – Francelle Young installed cameras to protect her home from thieves and soon after she did that, the porch pirates showed up.
"My son ordered a television that was dropped off at the home and right after the delivery driver dropped the TV off, the TV was immediately picked up by a porch pirate," Young said.
Young is now taking her crime prevention a step further by registering her surveillance cameras with her police department.
"I believe that neighborhood safety is a community effort, so to have a partnership with local law enforcement that would allow me or anyone to, you know, share in the effort of keeping our neighborhood more safer, that's a win," Young said.
In Metro Detroit, communities such as Allen Park, Bloomfield Township and Troy have Extra Eye camera registries in place.
Troy police Sgt. Meghan Lehman said it is a voluntary registry. Homeowners and business owners sign up, letting a police department know they have cameras and how to reach them should officers want to ask to see the video. It does not give police access to those cameras, and owners decide each time whether to share the video.
"We use surveillance footage in all kinds of crimes now. It's really become a critical piece of evidence in a lot of different crimes but for homeowners that have them, a lot of times we'll have in the neighborhoods, maybe people breaking into cars. It's then useful for things like that, home invasions, burglaries, those types of things, could be anything," Lehman said. "We've gotten a lot of good pictures from people breaking into cars and that is one of the more frequent types of crimes around places like Troy."
Home surveillance cameras can catch crimes beyond your own property and record clues that can help police solve other crimes.
"It could be down the street something happens and you don't know, maybe your cameras would catch a car passing by, something like that," Lehman said.
For example, in Harris County, Texas, investigators asked the public to check their home surveillance cameras for any clues in the death of Jazmine Barnes.
"Surveillance videos give law enforcement identifying information, access to vehicles, license plate numbers, time stamps of when crimes actually happen. It really, really does help them solve their cases," said Rania Mankarious, CEO of Houston Crime Stoppers.
Last summer, in Texas, video from a Ring camera proved crucial in identifying a domestic violence survivor. The woman knocked on a stranger's door at 3 a.m. asking for help. She was barefoot and had shackles dangling from her wrists. It turns out she had escaped from her boyfriend, who had kept her tied up.
To learn more about a few Metro Detroit registry programs, click on the links below.