Thieves beware-- more people in the Valley have their eyes on their homes even when they are not there

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Wherever you are, home is just an app away. All you need is an internet connection and you are dialed into any suspicious activity on the other side of the door.

Fresno resident Jo Bloom said, "Anytime anybody walks by, even in the dark, the sensor goes off and it starts recording the video."

The most popular cameras are installed as doorbells or floodlights and typically take no more than a few hours to install. High-resolution video captures everything from notable crimes to the not so criminal.

It's the new neighborhood watch allowing people who live in the same area to also log onto the app to see what other neighbors caught on camera. The Ring system is the most popular home security network but there are several others on the market. Jim Day, a security system installer, scrolls his app daily.

"If somebody took something off your front porch, you post it, let the people know in your neighborhood-- hey, this guy came, took something off my front porch. This is what he looks like. Another guy could have a suspicious car driving by."

A $249 retail price makes the camera an affordable cost for peace of mind and 24-seven eyes and ears. Bloom bought a doorbell Ring camera after a rash of car burglaries but now uses it to also monitor the kids.

"We have a lot of kids in the neighborhood and so many of us have it just for safety. We can watch and see what the kids are doing in the garage area or whatever."

The growing number of home camera systems is helping detectives all over Fresno solve a variety of crimes.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "I am confident that as more and more people obtain this type of technology, we're going to see fewer and fewer burglaries. And the burglaries that do occur we're going to have a better chance of solving them."

The home protection system can also trick would-be thieves into thinking you're home. A two-way intercom system lets you talk to anyone who approaches your home. Even a siren can be activated as an additional deterrent.

The motion sensor cameras can also come in handy to see whose dogs are running through your yard, where those Halloween decorations disappeared to, and who is playing doorbell ditch at your house.

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Wherever you are, home is just an app away. All you need is an internet connection and you are dialed into any suspicious activity on the other side of the door.

The Fresno County Sheriff's detectives say a neighbor's security camera is helping them investigate a double homicide. Deputies say a doorbell camera captured a picture of the suspect driving around the neighborhood around the time of the December 11th shootings in the Fig Garden area.

Some of the videos recorded recently by the Ring system in several Fresno neighborhoods are eye-opening. The high tech version of a new and improved neighborhood watch is catching everything on camera from curious critters to criminals.

Porch pirates, burglars, and even salespeople will never know whether you are home or not with the security system that allows you to talk to people at your door with the tap of your phone through an app.

Jo Bloom lives in North Fresno. Just last week she just had her flooring replaced as part of a home remodel.

"They started on a Monday and they were very fast. Very clean. Very efficient. Nice. Great. Everything we could ask for," said Bloom.

But when the contractors were done, she noticed all of the extra flooring she bought had disappeared. The installers told her only a box or two was leftover.

"My wheels started turning," Bloom said. "I'm trying to add everything up like where did 12 boxes of flooring go in one day when all they did was the stairs."

She remembered her camera system that's activated and recording with any motion. She found the clips of the workers cleaning up, and cleaning out, carrying the leftover boxes of flooring to their truck.

"I was, of course, upset because I had let them come in and out of the house freely. I trusted them," she said.

With the video in hand, she presented it to the business that hired the workers and her flooring was returned.

Jim Day installs both the doorbell and floodlight cameras all over the Central Valley. One feature many customers like is the ability to eavesdrop on those who are on their property before deciding whether to confront them.

"You can listen to people without doing two-way talk. So you show that feature like someone's out here in my front yard. They may be passing flyers out. But you can listen to what they are saying. They don't even know you are listening to them," said Day.

We tested the system to see how easy it is to set off.

"The Ring, I like it because you know when I'm away from home, like I'm at work right now, and I can see what's going on. It buzzed me and I knew you were in my front yard," said Joe Hurtado, Fresno Resident.

A double homicide in the Woodward Lakes Community late last year was quickly solved thanks to a doorbell camera. Chief Jerry Dyer said it showed the suspect, Gary Perry, darting through the neighborhood after killing Brennan Fairhead and Scott Gaffney.

"As he was chasing that third victim and actually firing rounds at him, the doorbell video, the Ring video, captured him running by. And gave some very distinct clothing," said Dyer.

Within hours detectives identified Perry and a day later arrested him. Dyer says his puffy jacket and fur collar gave him away.

Surveillance systems are exploding on the market as more homeowners fight back with a camera and an app.
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