What you need to know before installing a doorbell camera

9 Investigates: What you need to know before installing a doorbell camera

When you’ve experienced what Kay Sparrow has been through, it would be easy to understand why she leaves nothing to chance now.

Sparrow was sleeping when her doorbell camera captured two men breaking into her Gaston County home a few months ago.

[ALSO READ: Doorbell camera leads to arrest of 'repeat offender' accused of breaking into home]

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Investigators don't know who's behind the crime yet, but Sparrow and her son, James, emailed a copy of the video to investigators, hoping it would help.

“It strikes terror in your heart to think that somebody would come in your home while you're sleeping and rob you,” Sparrow said.

The family also registered their camera with a new Gaston County Police Department initiative called Capture.

“Imagine if we didn’t have any of these cameras,” said James. “You know what I'm saying? We wouldn’t have anything. At least now we have something.”

Capture asks home and business owners to register their privately-owned cameras with the police.

“We knew that there was a void in our investigations. We knew that there was evidence out there that we weren’t getting,” Capt. Billy Downey with Gaston County police said.

Once the cameras are registered, investigators map out where they are and where known offenders live.

The program then posts the video evidence on social media, where their current audience tops 20,000 people.

Officers hope the extra eyes will capture the crime, and ultimately, the burglar.

“We know that a lot of these victims are going to put this on social media whether we're involved," said Downey. “So, we would much rather have this program there instead of a victim trying to solve their own case.”

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Gaston County police said the exact stats from the program are still hard to track, but the department's crime analyst estimates of the videos they've shared on Facebook almost 90 percent of those cases have been solved.

“And one of the calls that we received was actually from one of the suspect's mother, who said, 'I hate to be calling and telling you this, but that's my son,'” Downey said.

Investigators are also exchanging information with other agencies in the Charlotte region.

At least six of them have reached out with interest in starting their own programs, but with that success has come resistance.

Some people question trusting officers with access.

“We're not asking you for access to your computer,” Downey said. We're not asking you for access to your videos. What we're asking is that you let us know that you have a camera so if we have a crime, we can come and talk to you and ask you to look at that camera for us.”

Sparrow told Channel 9 she has looked at the doorbell video hundreds of times.

“I'm trying to figure out who it is,” she said.

The Sparrows had at least one camera in their home when burglars broke in. Now, there's barely an inch of this house, not covered in cameras.

“I sleep better at night knowing these things,” Sparrow said.

More information on the Capture program here.