Technology is helping officials catch thieves more quickly

Published: Apr. 15, 2017 at 4:32 PM CDT
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Five people are accused of stealing guns, credit cards and other property from a home earlier this week. The Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office said it was a larger burglary because firearms were stolen. Unfortunately, this crime happens more often in rural Minnehaha County this time of year.

Sgt. Preston Evans with the Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office said it's because there's not as many people around to keep an eye on each other.

"In the rural areas, we've got 835 square miles to cover, we can't be every place at once. So it goes back to the old adage of neighborhood watch. Let your neighbors know what cars should be there and who should be in the area," said Sgt. Evans.

Tyler Blake who is the chief operating officer at Midwest Alarm agrees that being a good neighbor is important, but he also said he's seeing more residents buy security cameras.

"They want to keep an eye on things because their home really is their most precious asset," said Blake.

Surveillance video is something Sgt. Evans said helps the sheriff's office catch thieves even faster.

"Once we get an image, it's a great chance that we're going to be able to solve a crime," he said.

"The camera technology has got a lot better," explained Blake. "People always think of the gas station or the bank being broken into and it's got the really fuzzy, blurry picture. But now the camera technology is a lot better resolution."

Many security systems are tied to residents' smart phones now, so they're able to check on their home at any time. Sgt. Evans said people can't count on this for protection, but it's a good security measure to have.

"That's not always fool proof, but what that's going to do is give us an opportunity to at least have a visual or image of the person," said Sgt. Evans. "And then we can have some time to put that together."

After officials get a picture of a suspect, it's very unusual if they don't end up finding that person, especially if they're from this area. Sgt. Evans said surveillance video from local stores helped the sheriff's office catch some of the suspects in the burglary earlier this week. Some other simple ways residents can protect their homes are leaving the lights on, locking their doors and having an alarm system.