Motion cameras help Brentwood crack down on crime

May 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new cost-effective crime fighting tool is now in place throughout Brentwood. Police hope the threat of being caught on camera will act as a deterrent. This is a story from our media partner the Bay Area News Group.

When Brentwood Police Officer Russ Miller goes home, his voice will still be working overtime all over Brentwood.

When a motion sensor camera picks up a person walking by, the camera will say, "The park is closed. Your picture has just been taken and will be forwarded to the Brentwood Police Department. Leave the park immediately."

The FlashCAM-880 is a motion activated, solar-powered, portable camera that can read a sign or capture a license plate from 250 feet away in the dark.

"After it goes to dark, the system automatically activates itself and arms," said Miller.

Its first mobile assignment is in a neighborhood, near Creekside Park, where groups of teenagers have been causing trouble at night.

"We're scared for the kids. There's been some attacks in the walkway next to our house. There's been some kids that were beat up. Belongings thrown over the fence onto our property, it was a safety concern," said Brentwood resident Jeffrey Tamayo.

Officer Miller can wirelessly download the photos in seconds.

"That really gives me a piece of mind definitely for the kids," said Brentwood resident Amy Tamayo.

Similar cameras are already being used to catch illegal dumpers in unincorporated Richmond. At $5,400 each, this department thinks it's a wise investment.

"We're spending a tremendous amount of money replacing copper wire and metal boxes that are being stolen. So if we can identify one of those persons, it will pay for the camera. And I see it taking off and becoming popular," said Brentwood Police Lt. Tom Hansen.

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