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Police search for 'distressed' mystery woman

Police in Texas are searching for a partially-clothed "distressed" woman who has been ringing people's doorbells at night.

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 1:24 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 1:24 PM

Surveillance cameras and home security systems are becoming crucial tools for fighting crime, slowly replacing the neighborhood watch and its army of invisible street guardians.

Some of the biggest stories in recent weeks have involved surveillance cameras providing police officers with evidence to help solve investigations.

In the most recent case, a mystery woman was captured by home security cameras in Texas repeatedly ringing doorbells in the middle of the night with what appeared to be shackles hanging from her wrist, leading to a nationwide effort to track her down.

Montgomery County deputies said Wednesday that they've identified her, but will not name her because she is a domestic violence victim. Without surveillance footage, there's no telling what could have happened.

And in the case of Mollie Tibbetts, the jogger found dead in an Iowa cornfield this month, it was a neighbor's home security camera that offered a key clue on the suspected killer after mystified investigators searched for answers for nearly a month.

Then there's the case of Houston cardiologist Mark Hausknecht, who was killed by a man while riding his bike in broad daylight last month. In the days following the shooting, the motive and the suspect's identity remained a mystery until surveillance video obtained by a neighbor near the crime scene allowed investigators to identify the suspect.

Here's why home security systems are gaining popularity among investigators:

They're in real time and on your fingertips

Technology is advancing every day and home security systems are getting more sophisticated. Some provide immediate results, with the ability to take pictures of intruders, detect motion and alert homeowners if there's suspicious activity, including trespassing, vandalism and theft of packages.

Other systems allow homeowners to see what's happening around their homes through an app on their phones, and can be monitored from anywhere.

The growing interest in home security cameras means more options and better prices, experts say, with the cost varying based on several factors such as size.

Social media has made it easier to share the footage from home surveillance apps, especially on platforms such as Nextdoor that allow neighbors to post information specific to their particular areas.

The information is specific to the crime area

Authorities are using private video surveillance cameras to help crack down on crime, with some police departments urging residents to register devices with them.

In Illinois, the O'Fallon Police Department asked residents to help fight crime by investing in neighborhood surveillance cameras and registering them with authorities.

"Video surveillance is one of the best methods for apprehending criminals and convicting suspects who are caught in the act of committing a crime," the O'Fallon Police Department said in a statement. "Installing video surveillance is a great example of community-police partnerships and is something we highly value as a police agency serving our community."

Residents register their surveillance cameras with the police and provide information such as an address and a phone number so the O'Fallon Police Department can contact them when a crime occurs in their neighborhood. Once registered, investigators can reach out to them and request to see their video surveillance footage when a crime happens in an area.

"It's an extra set of eyes and ears in the community, because we can't be everywhere at every time," Capt. Kirk Brueggeman of the O'Fallon Police Department told CNN affiliate KTVI last year.

"It's not the holy grail of law enforcement, but it is another tool in our arsenal for finding people and solving crimes. The more cameras out there the better because it keeps people honest," he said.

While officers can access the data, it's not public record, according to the O'Fallon Police Department.

Invasion of privacy is a concern

Surveillance camera footage has its drawbacks. In some cases, people post footage of an alleged crime without verifying information, which can lead to misinformation. Such footage can cause mass hysteria, portray someone unfairly and also make the person who posted it a target for retaliation or lawsuits.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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Hi: 70° Lo: 43°
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Columbus
Clear
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Oxford
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Starkville
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High pressure will continue to dominate our weather forecast for the next few days. This will keep our area on the dry side and on the unseasonably warm side for this time of the year. We will see most high temperatures well into the 70s over the next few afternoons.
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