Sheriff's department creates security camera database

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - It's a new database designed to house names of businesses with security cameras for the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office.

Just because a store's name is on the list doesn't mean detectives have free reign over the stores' cameras, the sheriff's office said. It simply makes it easier for detectives to know where security cameras are if a crime happens.

"Think of the database for the cameras as like a phone book. We're not tying into them. We're not looking at them," Lieutenant Jerry Brewer said. "If we have a crime in that area, we go to the database and go, 'OK, what cameras are here?' It just kind of eliminates the legwork of what they were doing before the detectives."

Brewer said more than 100 businesses across the county are part of the database. He said the idea was launched a few months ago after detectives realized they were using a lot of private companies' cameras in their investigations.

"A picture tells a thousand words, so if we have video, we know that he's wearing the same sweatshirt," Brewer said. "He's got the same MO. Everything is the same and we have him on video, so we can put him at a certain place at a certain time. It just really enhances the investigation."

Masonboro Country Store is one business on the list.

"Every single inch of this store inside (and) outside is protected by security cameras," Musa Agil, the store's owner, said.

Agil's store has more than 24 cameras, so Agil said it was a no-brainer to help the department.

"I think if each and every one of us should participate in this program, I think that it would be great help, a great help to the security, the law enforcement, to sheriff's department, to the police," Agil said. "That would really make their jobs much, much easier than it is right now."

Agil said he's adding up to six more cameras around his store, a decision he made before the sheriff's department asked him to be in the database.

Brewer said detectives are still going business to business across the county asking stores if they'd like to be a part of the database. Businesses can also sign up on the sheriff office's website.

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