BELTON — The Belton Police Department has begun a safety program that invites residents and businesses to help solve crimes.
Through E-Watch, people can voluntarily submit surveillance videos so police will have evidence to investigate alleged criminal activities.
“This program gives us another way to partner with the community,” Belton police Sgt. Kim Hamilton said.
The program is voluntary, and the department will not be able to directly reach anyone’s camera or other technology.
“I want people to be sure they understand we don’t have access to their systems,” she said.
People who enroll in the program inform the department where the cameras are and the field of view they capture.
Police can get in touch with residents or business owners if officers believe cameras might have footage of a crime in progress, suspicious activity, suspect vehicles or the direction a criminal went.
People already signed up for the program, and the department is building a database listing camera locations, Hamilton said.
According to citi-data.com, a website that lists crime statistics and rankings, the number of assaults, burglaries and thefts in Belton increased during the past decade, while the number of murders and auto thefts remained stable, and the number of arsons decreased.
Since 2000, Belton’s crime rate has been lower than the U.S. average until about three years ago, when the city’s crime rate rose to match the U.S. average. In comparison with nearby cities, Belton ranks low in crime rate compared to Killeen and has a crime rate compared to Temple, Harker Heights, Bartlett and Troy.
Salado and Holland have lower crime rates than Belton.