South Jersey police department produces crime videos to catch crooks
MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — In the latest episode of "Middle Township Police Crime Watch Video," three cars at a mobile home park were keyed and spray-painted, a burglar swiped an X-Box One and Playstation 4 from a home, and a wallet was stolen from a parked car.
Residents of this Cape May County town can always find out about the crimes happening in their neighborhoods.
That's because every month or so, police post one of these videos to their social media sites, offering photos and details about crimes — no matter how small — that occurred over the previous weeks.
The department's main goal is to generate solid information from the public that can lead to an arrest.
"A lot of these crimes being featured on these videos aren't crimes that would typically get coverage in traditional media," Police Chief Christopher Leusner told New Jersey 101.5. "Not just serious crimes; a lot of it is low-level crimes, but there's a victim, and we want to try to solve that case for that victim."
We're generating tips on cases we normally wouldn't generate tips on, and we're also sharing information with the public so they can know what's going on in their town, too.
Crimes on the videos range from slashed tires in a supermarket parking lot, to the theft of a bicycle, to a home burglary that targeted expensive gaming systems.
And the tips have been rolling in, according to Leusner.
"We're generating tips on cases we normally wouldn't generate tips on, and we're also sharing information with the public so they can know what's going on in their town, too," Leusner said.
Leusner got the video idea from law enforcement in Alabama while he was researching ways for his department to gain followers on social media. The department uses an Alabama company for production of the videos, which started going online about a year ago.
The township had considered asking local high school students to produce the videos, but the police department needed a quicker turnaround time on the videos.
Leusner said fellow police chiefs in New Jersey have reached out to him about the crime watch video concept.
"I would like to see it take off," he said. "I wouldn't be surprised if other departments start to use these videos."