More CT residents are helping solve crimes by sharing home safety videos

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Several dozen Connecticut police and fire departments participate in the Ring Neighborhood Public Safety Service which allows authorities and the community to share information, photos and videos about crime and other safety issues.

But only a few, like the West Hartford and Bristol Police Departments, have video-sharing programs that allow residents to voluntarily sign up to be placed on a list, indicating they are willing to provide investigators video footage of their home or business if a crime occurs in their neighborhood.

West Hartford has recorded about 100 homes and businesses since launching its video-sharing program about a year ago, said community relations division commander Lt. Aaron Vafiades.


The program is voluntary, with people providing basic information such as their name and location and whether their camera faces the street. When people register, their name goes into a database that is accessible to officers investigating a crime or incident, Vafiades said.

“They pull out the spreadsheet and contact the person in that area and ask them to review their own cameras,” Vafiades said. “If they want to share it, great.”

Bristol Police have had a similar program for years, Lt. Geoffrey Lund said.

“It saves time going door to door,” he said.

The database is updated regularly for detectives, Lund said.

“It’s a good tool that they can use,” he said.

New Canaan police do not have a designated video-sharing program, but have created a special website for people to upload videos in the Jennifer Dulos disappearance case, Lt. Jason Ferraro said.

The disappearance made international headlines when the mother-of-five went missing in May 2019. A neighbor’s security camera caught her walking home that morning after dropping her children off at the ‘school. Image of her vehicle captured the last activity before police believed she was killed by her ex-husband in his garage.

Other videos, including of what police believe Fotis Dulos was riding his bike that morning toward his ex-wife’s home, were among more than 100 Ferraro said he received in the case.

“It was a colossal undertaking” to review the videos to determine which contained evidence of the disappearance, he said.

These and other videos from local school buses, national highway cameras and Hartford’s public safety camera system built the case against Fotis Dulos, who died by suicide in January 2020 while facing charges of murder, kidnapping and other charges in the case.

But even before the Dulos case, Ferraro said the department had been knocking on doors for years looking for videos when incidents occurred.

“In 25 years, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they didn’t want to help with an investigation when something happened in their neighborhood,” Ferraro said.

West Hartford is increasing its video-sharing program by participating in the Ring Neighbors app, which allows police to post video or information requests and residents can share photos or videos and reports of potential crimes.

The program is primarily used by people with a Ring camera security system, but anyone can sign up to check incidents in their area or post information.

Dozens of Connecticut police and fire departments participate in the Ring Neighborhood Public Safety Service, but some use the program more than others, according to information on the company’s website.

Trumbull Police participated, but did not release anything in 2021. Danbury Police requested information about a shooting that occurred in late December. Other Danbury posts have received over 2,000 views.

The Ring app is useful because it allows police to interact with the public, share accurate information if neighbors comment on an incident, and request video for a certain period, Vafiades said.

“We can send the request from an official PD account,” Vafiades said. “If you have a Ring device, it will pull the video in the time we asked you to review it.”

The Ring app and video-sharing program helps police save time when investigating a crime or incident, he said.

“A lot of people are at work during the day,” Vafiades said. “It allows us to make a phone call and ask people if they can check their video.”

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