Police: Home security systems catching crooks in action

After a video camera captured a man breaking into a Cranston home, police say home security systems becoming more common. (Police photo)

For years, security camera videos have captured break-ins at businesses.

Now, more and more videos of crimes are coming from homes.

"It is a tool to help us be better able to solve the crime in a timely fashion," Cranston Police Capt. Karen Guilbeault told NBC 10 News.

On Wednesday alone, NBC 10 featured two stories involving home security cameras.

One was a home break-in on Alexander Street in Cranston. Police are asking for help identifying the suspect, who broke into the house nearly two weeks ago.

The suspect then walked around the residence and checked out the scene. He left, but then returned.

According to authorities, who posted the video on Facebook, the suspect threw a brick through a window to get in.

More than 20 minutes later, he was seen coming out of the door and running off.

The second story was about a suspect who was filmed stealing packages that had just been delivered outside a home in Pawtucket. Police there are also seeking the public's assistance to find the culprit.

David Pacia, managing partner of SecurityRI.com, said the increase in home cameras is due in part to how much they cost.

"The prices have come down dramatically," Pacia said. "So, more and more people (are) looking at this sort of stuff to prevent any type of breach."

The picture quality is getting better, as is the level of sophistication.

"Some of them will make a noise," Pacia said. "It's a sound, and just instinctively they'll look up to see what the sound is or where it came from. Now you've got the facial image."

There are also cell phone apps that allow homeowners to see what's happening on their cameras if they're not home, which can lead to a rapid police response.

"We're not just responding anymore to take a report and do the investigation, we're actually catching the suspects still in the house," Guilbeault said.

Cranston police are working on a program that would ask residents with camera systems to register with the police department so if a crime happens in their neighborhood investigators would know who to ask for video footage of what happened.

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