Vandalia camera program aims to become new style of neighborhood watch

VANDALIA — The Vandalia police are reviving a dormant program looking to get people to register their home or business cameras with the department.

Earlier this year there were two different cases that they were able to solve with the help of home or business surveillance cameras which is what inspired the department to expand the program that originally started about four years ago with little participation.

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“Revamped the program and now that gives us an opportunity to have digital maps in each cruiser that’s accessible by any officer,” Crime Prevention Officer Andrew Wehner said. “There’s also a large display map for our detectives that allows them to find any residence or business within the community that has a camera registered at their house.”

The police department asks people to register so that if something happens in a particular area they can reach out to people with cameras in that area to see if the camera may have recorded what happened or a possible suspect. The Vandalia PD does not have access to the cameras but rather a record of where they might be able to reach out for help should the need arise.

“Earlier this year we had a few vehicles broken into around the city and it was home surveillance that actually solved that,” Officer Wehner said. “We were able to pull some of those images, put them out to the public and gather an identification from that. As well as one of the businesses had some property stolen from there which their surveillance captured that, was put online and we were able to identify suspects and make an arrest.”

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Police will still knock on doors and do their job like normal, but Officer Wehner said this simply can give officers and detectives a headstart in an investigation, especially for property crimes. The department now has about 30 cameras registered, up from 11 that they had at the beginning of the month before they tried to revamp the project.

“This is a completely confidential program, we’re allowing people to share their information with us just a contact information, what kind of cameras they have and where they may be located,” Wehner said.

If you’re a Vandalia resident and would like to participate in the voluntary program you can fill out the police department’s form here.

James Rider

I was born in Virginia and have moved several times in my life as a member of an Air Force family. I've lived in Virginia, California, Germany, England, and Ohio. I graduated from Centerville High School and then went on to attend Ball State University where I graduated with a bachelor's degree.