On Greg Oltmanns’ street, his neighbors know someone is always watching. Oltmanns remembers the day he saw a car tear through his Coon Rapids neighborhood. The black sedan blew through the stop sign on his corner of 110th Avenue and Kumquat Street Northwest. Oltmanns caught the speeder on his home security camera and wondered, could video like this help the police department?
Coon Rapids detective, Adam Jacobson, says security cameras can be crucial in a police investigation.
“That can save me hours of time,” says Jacobson.
“Any little bit of information in any type of a investigation can assist us in trying to figure out who did it.”
As technology improves and prices drop, more homes have camera systems like the Oltmanns. The Coon Rapids Police Department would like to know where those cameras are. A new community camera program allows citizens to register the location of their cameras with police.
Community outreach specialist, Trish Heitman, says knowing a camera is near where a crime occurred can give investigators a great place to start.
“Our investigator will call you or email you and say, ‘hey, can we possibly take a look at your footage?’ If somebody says no, okay, no problem, but more often than not people are really happy to be able to help us out.”
The camera registry is just one part of the police department’s Community Watch Team. It's a way for neighbors to come together with police, get monthly safety tips, and access local crime information. Everyone who joins the Community Watch Team gets a blue window sticker for their home. Those with cameras get a green one.
Greg Oltmanns was one of the first to sign up. Now his home proudly displays the Community Watch Team sticker. It tells neighbors that he - and his cameras - are watching. And tells police who may be in the area that he is a partner.
“It makes me feel safe for my family, you know, and then it makes me feel like I'm doing something for the community too."
Learn more about the Community Watch Team and sign up here.
Jennifer Anderson reporting