LONGMONT, Colo. -- He’s a mean one. That Grinch preying on your packages this time of year.
Fortunately, there's also a growing network of homeowners who are capturing porch pirates with video doorbells.
The Longmont Police Department is registering those video doorbell systems in hopes of solving more crimes.
"Right now, I think we're up around 85 to 90 registered users," said Matt Lee, crime analyst with the Longmont Police Department
Here's how the program works: You register your video doorbell with police, which they register in an internal map. You don't have to worry about privacy, since the map is accessible to officers, but your video is not. Police can only get the video if you allow it.
"We do not have a live feed or access to any of their systems," Lee said. “There are a lot of people who think this is a Big Brother thing where we’re always watching. That’s not the case.”
Instead, if a porch pirate or other criminal hits a certain area – police can access the map and request video from homeowners who are registered.
"It's just a good place for officers to start," Lee said.
It worked in Longmont’s Prospect neighborhood recently after an auto theft and home break-in.
"I sent out an e-mail to all four of these registered users," Lee said. "One of them e-mailed me back and said, ‘Yeah, here's video of it.’ And we eventually caught them."
It's new technology that could help to stop a Grinch dead in his tracks.
“It’s strictly a voluntary program, but we think it’s good for everyone,” Lee said. “We’re hoping more homeowners sign up. Any crime can be solved with this information.”
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