Hoping to elicit the public’s help in catching criminals, the Aurora Police Department has launched its “Click, Then Call’ campaign, urging residents to snap photos and video of suspicious suspects and behavior before calling 911.
“Photos and video evidence of a crime is among the best evidence available,” Aurora Police Department spokesman Dan Ferrelli said in announcing the campaign. “Aurora police have solved several crimes when citizens have had the forethought to snap photos or video and then call 911.”
Police have called cell phones “one of the most effective tools to keep neighborhoods safe” and are hoping for a high participation rate.
If a large enough group of people participate in the campaign, the city could essentially become a giant Neighborhood Watch program, which is crucial to solving crime, Ferrelli said.
Although police begin their response to 911 calls within seconds, criminals often flee the area before officers can arrive.
“The few seconds it takes to capture an image (before calling 911) will have no significant effect on their arrival time, but will have a huge impact on their ability to identify the offender,” Ferrelli said.
Photos and videos of suspects, vehicles, license plates and other pertinent information can be taken discretely, and without the offenders knowing.
Those files can then be downloaded by Aurora police in a private manner.
A witness’ personal photos, videos and information will remain untouched by police, Ferrelli said.
“Police would be prohibited by law from taking anything else from a phone without the owner’s consent or a search warrant,” he said. “Plus, police can download while the witness watches to ease any privacy concerns.”
In addition to the “Click Then Call” campaign, Aurora police have also asked for the public’s help in setting up a network of business and home surveillance systems that also help solve crime.
One of the first things Aurora Police investigators look for following a crime is any exterior cameras on homes and businesses in the area that may have caught important footage.
Officers then secure permission from the video’s owners to view and copy any footage that may have captured the incident or suspects, Ferrelli said.
Finally, police add the address with the security system to a database in the event another crime occurs in the same neighborhood.
Video footage of criminal activity is better than eye witness testimony for solving crime, Ferrelli said, making arrests and sending criminals to jail.
“Security cameras never sleep, don’t stop and wonder if what they’re seeing is suspicious, never worry that the police have ‘more important’ things to do, and don’t care if neighbors see them cooperating with us,” he said.
There is nothing to sign to join the police footage network, no obligation and no charge to participate.
“In exchange, one of our officers will offer you tips on how to optimize the quality of the footage your system is recording, the best positioning of the cameras and other important advice,” Ferrelli said.
If you’re interested in participating
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Your name, address, phone number and email address
- Make and model of your security system
- Description of the exterior area captured by the camera(s) such as your yard, driveway, street, etc.
- How long your system stores footage
- If you know how to download footage (If not, the APD does have special equipment that can download video from all makes and models of security systems.)
If you have any questions or want more information, please call the Aurora Police Department Investigations Division at (630) 256-5500 and ask for a supervisor.
Aurora police say your photos, videos help solve crime —