RICHLAND, Wash.-- Richland Police say that home surveillance cameras are becoming increasingly popular and they're helping investigators catch the bad guys even faster.
Remote video surveillance systems are like a watch dog without the bark or bite and much more effective.
The home video cameras allow people to monitor activity inside and outside their property.
William Sperry thought he'd try out a video security system at his home.
"As we used it more and more we found that we saw things happening in our neighborhood that we weren't too happy about like prowlers," Sperry said.
Remote video surveillance cameras like this one allow people to watch their home or office from anywhere just by logging into an online service.
Sperry logs into his computer to play back suspicious video. But many people are checking in from their phones.
"Smart phone technology has really opened up the door for a lot of services like this. They want to see what going on with their children, with their pets, and with their home. So it gives them a way to be away from home and still be able to be at home," said Michael Miller, Moon Security Services.
Police say the growing trend is helping them find criminals faster.
"If you're able to monitor or if it's able to alarm you in some way via text message or an email and you can get that information to law enforcement, even if you're not home, that increases the likelihood we can make an apprehension," said Capt. Mike Cobb, Richland Police Department.
Cobb said with access to surveillance video, police could start an investigation before you even get home.
Sperry's surveillance video helped Richland police find a car prowler in his neighborhood.
"Came back and verified that they had prowled in this neighborhood and that they were the ones causing a lot of problems. So they got those people off the streets and they won't be coming back to our neighborhood," Sperry said.
With the click of a mouse or the tap of a smartphone screen, citizens are taking an active role in policing our neighborhoods and keeping our community a little bit safer.