FORT WORTH, Texas - A Fort Worth neighborhood’s new video surveillance system is designed to keep residents safe, but is also collecting and storing information.
Signs warn people that every vehicle entering the Caballito Del Mar community in northwest Fort Worth is being recorded.
“I've seen vehicles whip in here, they'll see the sign and they'll stop and just look at it. I've seen vehicles back up and leave,” said Wayne White, HOA president.
The neighborhood began using the video system six months ago. Its motion detectors not only capture the license plate numbers of vehicles, but also stores the information on a cloud-based server for 30 days. The HOA said it’s capable of much more.
“What’s nice about the system is it works off a hot sheet. If a car is wanted for a crime or if the person driving has warrants the FWPD is automatically notified of the whereabouts of that particular person and or that particular vehicle,” White said.
Concerns regarding privacy prompted the HOA to give residents the option to exclude their vehicle data from being stored in the system. White says none opted out.
“We can set the system to where it will delete your vehicle. But, the downside to that is if your vehicle is stolen or whatever, the camera will automatically delete your car as it leaves the community, so we don't have any way of tracking your automobile,” White said.
Fort Worth police described the residential surveillance system as a new age tool for crime fighting.
“Ultimately our goal with Fort Worth PD is find partners that are going to make our city safer. If this is an extra tool that we can use, we're going to do our best to use it,” said Tracy Carter, FWPD spokesman.
White believes the system is making a difference in the neighborhood.
“We haven't had one car broken into, not one since we've put in the cameras,” he said.
FWPD officials said more HOAs and subdivisions are looking into the type of system that Caballito Del Mar uses and advances in video quality help investigators when crimes do take place.