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Merseyside Police has launched a new website link to enable members of the public to upload video footage from their home security cameras or smart doorbells that shows suspicious activity.
When burglars are looking for opportunities to break into homes, they’ll often snoop around the outside of properties to look for vulnerabilities in security and identify anything worth stealing. They may walk through the garden, down a driveway or up to the doorstep, and this activity is now increasingly being captured on video as surveillance cameras and smart doorbells grow in popularity.
Merseyside Police’s burglary team, known as Operation Castle, was established in 2018 and during the last four years, the team has already been successful in reducing burglary by 59% and securing convictions for burglary offenders with sentences amounting to more than 600 years. The new submission portal for video footage is another tool that Operation Castle detectives can use to help put more burglars behind bars.
Detective Inspector Tony O’Brien from Operation Castle at Merseyside Police, explained: “Sometimes these suspicious characters are captured on camera peering through windows or trying door handles, but quite often they may be seen simply looking around the outside of the property.
“When homeowners discover they have video footage of this sort of suspicious behaviour, they often do not realise its potential evidential value. In isolation, it may appear that there are no apparent criminal offences and that it’s a trespasser or prowler.
“We’ve encountered many instances where this type of video footage has been published by members of the public on social media, but this is a wasted opportunity to share visually recorded evidence with detectives in the Operation Castle team.
“Footage of suspicious circumstances like this can actually be valuable in many ways, even if it doesn’t appear to show any offences. These video clips can help us build a case by identifying the movements of suspects in particular locations at certain times and dates, along with piecing together aspects of their description.
“Our new submission portal makes it easy for the public to upload this type of footage directly for the attention of our burglary team. When a burglary has occurred, we already provide a unique link to enable the victim and witnesses to upload relevant video footage. The new portal link we’re launching is aimed at circumstances where there has been no crime reported, but the suspicious behaviour could potentially be related to a burglary.
“We’re appealing to the public, please don’t just publish video footage like this on social media, send it to us so we can assess its evidential value. Your video clip may be the missing piece in a puzzle that helps us put a burglar before the courts.”
The support of our communities is vital in helping us put offenders behind bars. If you discover video footage on your home security camera, smart doorbell or even a dashcam that shows someone acting suspiciously on your property, you can upload it for the attention of the Operation Castle team here:
You can share any other information you think is useful via our social media desk on Twitter @MerPolCC or Facebook ‘Merseyside Police Contact Centre’.
You can also pass information via Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via their online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org