SEGUIN -- If you have a surveillance camera, you could help solve crimes in Seguin.
Police are looking for anyone with a camera system to team up with officers in future investigations -- should a crime occur in their neighborhood.
"We don't wanna do this whole 'big brother' thing or anything like that. We want to give the opportunity to our community members to be more involved with us," said Officer Carlos Contreras, public information officer of the Seguin Police Department.
If you volunteer your surveillance system to be used in the future, police will still ask your permission before they get the footage. They will not have access to your camera surveillance 24/7.
The registry program kicked off Tuesday, and already a wave of residents are calling in offering to help.
Surveillance footage can be vital in solving a crime quicker and sending the right person to jail.
That's why Seguin PD is making moves to use resources within the community to keep an eye on different parts of the city, even if it's not by a fellow officer.
"When our officers are there in the field or at the incident location, they could look on a map or on a database and say, 'Hey, there's a person with a camera system right around the corner. Let's go ask them right away,'" Contreras noted.
Whether it's inside a business or a home, if it's a camera, it will help.
Gift & Gourmet in downtown Seguin plans to volunteer to register their surveillance system. They have multiple cameras throughout the store.
In fact, they've helped the Seguin Police Department with an investigation before.
"There was a fire recently, a couple of months ago, behind us, and [police] came in and looked at our cameras because they were hoping to see outside and see a car passing by," said Mary Reiley, owner of Gift & Gourmet.
Reiley added that there's a lot of community fellowship in Seguin, where people want to help police and understand how their operations work.
The surveillance cameras installed inside Gift & Gourmet aren't necessarily just for catching the bad guys. They also keep customers and employees safe.
"If somebody came in and did something to us or did something to another one of our customers, we want to make sure we have it on camera… We just recently added these little lines onto our jewelry cases saying, 'For your and our safety.' We don't want them to be threatening. It's safety for everybody," said Ashley Hopper, an employee at Gift & Gourmet.
That's the frame of mind of Court Street Coffee Shop, also in downtown Seguin.
"From our phone, we can observe our shop at any time that we want," said Mary Jo Langford, the owner of Court Street Coffee Shop.
Langford said that they plan to add another camera outside for employee safety. Should it also help police in the future, that's a win-win.
"I would put Seguin against any other town in this area as far as safety and security," Langford said. "That's because the police department is proactive and they're good about engaging citizens and business owners in that process."
About a dozen people have signed up for the program. It's completely voluntary, and camera owners can opt out at any time.
If you'd like to register, you can pick up a registration form at the Seguin Police Department or you can fill it out on the city's website by visiting SeguinRexas.gov/Police and click the registry icon.
The Terrell Hills Police Department also has a similar program for surveillance cameras.
Balcones Heights is looking into a similar program as a part of their city-wide zero tolerance for crimes.
(© 2017 KENS)