INDIANAPOLIS - Newly released surveillance camera videos show multiple crimes taking place on street corners, in hallways, elevators and near building entrances in Indianapolis.
More than 500 cameras pan, patrol and pinpoint threats to public safety in the city, with the video used to prevent violence, uncover fraud and promote public safety.
The cameras run 24/7, capturing mostly mundane moments, but they have proven to be an invaluable to crime investigators.
"There is no relaxation of crime and misdeeds during the day, so we have our cameras working all the time," said Bud Myers, executive director of the Indianapolis Housing Agency.
In September 2013, Nathaniel McClendon's mom told police was firing shots onto the street from a 19th-floor apartment in the 500 block of Massachusetts Avenue.
Thanks to surveillance cameras, police could see what they were getting into before they moved in. After nearly four hours, McClendon surrendered.
"I am shocked (by the videos). Sometimes, it reminds me of that show, stupidest criminals," Myers said.
One of the videos showed two men who thought they could steal a moped downtown without being noticed, while another surveillance clip showed teens spraying graffiti.
A series of clips from May 2013 showed contractors covering one of several cameras to start their work day.
Authorities found that the men hired to remove asbestos from Lugar Tower were taking shortcuts. Their employer was later cited for inappropriately handling hazardous material.
"I think that there is just some kind of stupidity that must overtake certain people," Myers said.
Another surveillance clip showed a woman getting off an elevator apparently had no idea a purse snatcher was behind her.
The thief didn't count on a good Samaritan confronting her, triggering an intense hallway fight.
As the suspect tried to make her getaway, police met her at the elevator and the victim got her purse back.
"There are some people who don't care, who are so intent on committing that act they're involved in," Myers said.
Indiana University Law Professor David Orentlicher said there is little right to privacy.
"If they try to take pictures when you're in your house or in your back yard or somehow penetrate your private space, then there are limits, but once you go outside, the court has said you give up your expectation of privacy," Orentlicher said.
The cameras have also been used to save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential legal fees and lawsuits.
Police said a woman reported she had been raped in a city building, but the claim was determined to be false because the man involved in the case was her boyfriend and the relationship was caught on camera.
The cameras have been credited with reducing crime by 36 percent in parts of the city. There are plans to add more when funding is made available.
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