Police use surveillance techniques to catch robbers - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Police use surveillance techniques to catch robbers

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The federal government has taken a lot of heat over those secret surveillance programs, but here in Nashville, surveillance is no secret.

Metro police have been posting warning signs all over to let you know you're being watched.

The homeowners in the Sylvan Park area are happy to see the signs.

The neighborhood is considered by many one of the best zip codes in Nashville, but over the summer, homeowners there began noticing a disturbing trend.

"Unwanted visitors would come to their back door, kick the back door in and take some items and run out the door," said Steve Swartz of the Sylvan Park Neighborhood Association. "It was sort of a smash and grab. There was a real spate of them and people were really, really upset."

While people were at work, burglars were canvassing the neighborhood. Swartz said they wasted no time calling police, who used some unique crime-fighting tactics.

"They posted signs that say 'Beware. We have undercover officers in the neighborhood.' 'The neighborhood's under surveillance,' and they put decoy cars out there, like a car parked with a laptop trying to lure somebody in."

Though many have questioned recent surveillance programs that have come to light, calling them invasive, Swartz said they've welcomed it.

"Metro police found the man and put him in jail. It doesn't get better than that," said Swartz.

Metro police wouldn't say much about the signs except to confirm that they are one of the weapons in the fight against neighborhood crime.

"The community needs to have confidence that the police can and will act on that information," said Swartz.

In addition to the sign, surveillance and bait cars, Metro police temporarily assigned bicycle officers to Sylvan Park.

When the burglaries stopped, those officers moved to another part of town that needed an extra set of eyes.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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