WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — An innovative way of keeping an eye on crime has proven successful in Winston-Salem.
Integrating cameras with the police department has helped catch criminals within minutes of the crimes.
More than 1,300 integrated cameras give the Winston Salem Police Department's Real Time Crime Center a clear view of criminals in the act.
Lt. Ben Jones said the police department works with business owners to have live access to their cameras.
"It helps officers know what the suspect may look like or suspect vehicle and are able to have that information while they're in route," Jones said.
The use of the Real Time Crime Center helps officers get all kinds of criminals off the streets.
Officers were able to arrest Byron Martin just two hours after police said he raped a business owner at her shop Sunday.
"In the past, we had to rely on eyewitnesses to put together a whole story," Jones said. "Now we can put together the whole picture through the video that comes into the real-time crime center."
Back in March, a teen was seriously hurt in a shooting at Kristy Food Mart on North Liberty Street.
A camera monitored by the real-time crime center captured the two suspects leaving the area.
Officers arrested the pair within 20 minutes of the shooting.
"We can't be everywhere all the time but the more cameras we have out there it enables us to see more of what's going on in the community," Jones said.
This helps fill the gaps for the department's 112 officer vacancies.
Assistant Chief Manny Gomez said getting residents to register their cameras can help fight crime.
"We cannot do this by ourselves," Gomez said. "We're not there when these crimes occur unless we use technology to provide us with information to investigate these crimes, without the community's help we can't accomplish that."
The department's process of getting residential footage is much different than seeing a business's live feed.
When a crime occurs officers will reach out to the registered camera owner and ask the homeowner to send the video to the real-time crime center.
"They can send parts of the video if they want to they don't have to send the whole thing we're asking for their help when a crime is committed," Jones said.
If you'd like to register a camera click here. Anonymous tips can also be texted to 336-276-1717.