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Home surveillance cameras capture big sales

by Adam Chodak

Greece, N.Y. -- Robert Bellave didn't even hear it happen.

Over the course of a half hour, a burglar emptied out his garage in Greece.

That thief then made a mistake.

He stepped up to the front door and into the sight of Bellaves home surveillance camera.

At first it was a silhouette, but when he shined the flashlight on the door, it kind of ricocheted off the window and caught his face, Bellave said.

Bellave is just one of many homeowners who have recently installed surveillance cameras that record what happens outside and inside their home.

Surveillance is John Nielsens line of work.

His company, Nielsen Security, sells and installs high-end surveillance cameras.

In the past, he primarily worked with businesses, but nowadays home surveillance takes up much of his time.

The prices have really come down, Nielsen said.

Nielsen says four high-quality cameras with storage and installation cost roughly $1,500, a $3,000 drop from just a few years ago.

There are also cheaper cameras available.

For example, you can pick up one camera for around $100 online, but Nielsen says you sacrifice quality and storage capacity, though you can usually watch the video through a smartphone and purchase storage space online.

He adds you might be able to install the camera yourself, but he doesnt recommend it.

Greece Police Chief Todd Baxter says more home surveillance has translated into more arrests.

That said, Baxter uses that video judiciously.

It kind of taints the identification procedure in court so we just have to be careful, Baxter said. As a last resort, if there are no other leads, it can be great to put that out there because more often than not we get a couple names coming forward on our tip line.

Thats what happened in Bellaves case.

After (13WHAM aired my surveillance video), 16 or 18 hours later, I got a call saying they caught the guy, Bellave said.

Bellave saw what his camera had accomplished, then went out and bought two more.

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Washington Times