"Often times we have found when canvassing a neighborhood after a crime has occurred that a home video system may have captured a picture of a suspect or a vehicle," according to the news release. "This can be a valuable lead that can help in an investigation and may lead to an arrest."
The Block Watch program is a voluntary program. Any residents who have outdoor surveillance cameras can register their cameras with the Police Department by filling out an online form at www.villageofhinsdale.org and clicking on the Block Watch registration link.
If a crime occurs in the neighborhood, police will ask the resident to check their camera system to see if they may have captured a picture that may aid in the investigation. There is no charge to participate in the program and program participants will be kept confidential.
"This is neighbors helping neighbors" said Hinsdale Police Chief Bradley Bloom. "We have always said the best neighbor to have is a nosey neighbor willing to call the police when they see something suspicious in the neighborhood. Like the nosey neighbor, home camera systems are always watching and we would like to use that resource."
The police department also encourages residents who currently do not have video surveillance systems to consider purchase one as prices have fallen substantially in the last few years and now offer easy installation with the use of wireless technology.
Video surveillance is an effective complement to existing home alarm systems to protect property, and most manufacturers now allow remote monitoring via smartphone when integrated with your home network.
"For us home surveillance systems are a force multiplier and a resource we need to take advantage of," Bloom said. "Catching criminals is not possible without the help of the community, and this program is expected to be perhaps one of the most effective initiatives we have developed to partner with the community in our efforts to reduce crime."
Residents are also reminded that they should immediately call 9-1-1 if they should see something suspicious, or if somebody unexpectedly may come to their doorstep that is lost and looking for directions.
Burglars often ring doorbells to check if anybody is home, and their unusual behavior should be a cue of a potential ruse of a plan to burglarize your home.
"Residents often are hesitant to call 9-1-1, or instead call the non-emergency number, because they don't wish to cause false alarm," Bloom said. "We would rather have hundreds of calls of suspicious activity that are unfounded than to have a resident not call when they see something that doesn't seem right."