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Fayetteville Police urges businesses to use video surveillance

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -

As a way to catch criminals and deter crime, the Fayetteville Police Department is working to improve surveillance cameras at businesses.

Kari Ellis, the department's specialist in video, is spreading the word about an initiative called "Video Done Right." On Thursday she presented information about the initiative to a group of business owners and managers who were interested in installing or improving surveillance systems.

Ellis started the program to give businesses the "dos and don'ts" of setting up surveillance systems. It covers what cameras to use, where to place them and the settings that capture the best pictures.

Ellis, or other crime prevention specialists with the same training, will even examine the current setup at a business and provide feedback.

Ellis said she was inspired to start the program because she often needed to examine video at a place where a crime had occurred, but many times the video was poor quality because for any number of reasons. She said poor video isn't very helpful, but good video makes a big difference for police.

"When you put that evidence in front of a jury, what can they say? That's you. A lot of times their mother will identify them. Their friends will rat them out. So yeah, video is really integral in solving crime," Ellis said.

Ellis said the Shaniya Davis kidnapping and murder case is a prime example of how good surveillance is helpful. She wishes every business would have a system as good as the one at the motel where Mario McNeill took the 5-year-old girl.

"It was her and it was him. It was undisputed," Ellis explained. "So that is just one case, one Fayetteville case, that video was instrumental in solving that case."

Ellis said surveillance cameras can also serve to deter crime, and they often help protect businesses from unfounded liability claims.

The program has worked so well for some stores and gas stations that some are expanding it to other states. The Pantry/Kangaroo gas stations are now using the Fayetteville program as a model on how to operate surveillance systems at all their locations nationwide.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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