How to Frustrate Crime Victims Who Have Video Footage


If you ever want to frustrate crime victims who have video footage of criminal actions taking place, just do what the Los Angeles police department (LAPD) did to a Van Nuys couple whose home was the target of an unsuccessful burglar.

The couple’s security camera picked up the suspect as he approached the home. Though the husband was not home, his wife was. He watched helplessly as the man tried to break in at 11:30 at night. Fortunately, the suspect did not succeed. When the wife called the LAPD for help, they said they could not arrest the man even if they found him.

Adding to the couple’s frustration was an incident that happened the following morning, about a block away. The same suspect entered an apartment building, stripped naked, and then entered an apartment occupied by two young girls and their parents. The girls’ father found the man in the bathroom and took him down.

It Didn’t Have to Happen

The first couple was extremely frustrated by the fact that police said they could not arrest the suspect. They say the police told them the suspect had not done enough damage to the home or attempted to break in long enough to constitute a crime. Therefore, they were not going to make an effort to apprehend him.

What makes the situation worse is that the incident the following morning didn’t have to happen. If police had found and arrested the suspect, he would not have broken into the apartment building the next day. Thank goodness the girls’ father was home.

In terms of the suspect not committing a crime the night before, such assertions are baffling. He clearly tried to break in regardless of whether or not he did any damage. The amount of time he spent on the property doesn’t matter, either. If nothing else, the suspect is guilty of trespassing.

Cameras Prove Invaluable

There is nothing anyone can do to go back and change what happened. If there is a positive here, it is the fact that wireless home security cameras proved invaluable yet again. According to Vivint Smart Home, the first couple’s doorbell camera did the following:

  • Alerted the Homeowner – First and foremost, the homeowner was alerted to the burglary attempt by video surveillance. He warned his wife. Not only was she able to call police, but she probably would also have had opportunity to get out of the house had the burglar succeeded in getting in.
  • Provided Evidence – Next, the camera provided evidence that linked the two crimes together. Police were able compare video evidence with the suspect’s tattoos and facial features, confirming that the burger and the man found in the apartment are one and the same.

Wireless home security cameras prove time and again how valuable they are as crime-fighting tools. It is not known from news reports whether or not the burglary victims have a complete security system installed in their home but, if not, their recent experience may prompt them to change that.

In the meantime, it’s frustrating to know that you might be the victim of a crime in progress, yet the police are unable to respond. Between budget cuts, bad press, and constant attempts to reform law enforcement to make it more genteel, police departments around the country are having trouble keeping up.

What happened in Van Nuys is truly unfortunate. But perhaps we should try to learn the lessons it offers. First, homeowners need to do whatever they can to protect themselves. Second, we need to start rebuilding police departments rather than continually tearing them down.