What happens when law enforcement collaborates with the leading provider of live video monitoring to combat organized crime? A very successful outcome.
In early April 2023, Jason Compton, Director of Monitoring and Police Relations for Stealth Monitoring was asked to join a call regarding chronic issues at an apartment community Stealth was monitoring. Crimes were occurring in areas that did not have camera coverage and the property’s guards were ineffective. Despite Jason’s recommendation to install additional surveillance cameras to monitor the areas of vulnerability, the client was unable to make the investment.
As the situation escalated to 10-11 auto thefts within a month, including multiple instances of breaking and entering, Jason was contacted for additional guidance on curbing criminal activity. Criminals were jumping fences, following residents through gates, and staging criminal activity in multiple locations across the sprawling garden-style asset. The situation was becoming a major problem. It was having a significant impact on community harmony and resident satisfaction, as well as absorbing a considerable amount of the property staff’s time and energy.
Identifying Organized Crime and Contacting Law Enforcement
Prior to joining Stealth, Jason spent 13 years in law enforcement. This expertise was crucial when the team was analyzing incident footage for potential solutions. Jason was able to quickly identify there were multiple issues in play – the work of an organized crime ring, the TikTok Car Theft Challenge, and vehicle B&Es. In order to stop these criminals, law enforcement intervention would be necessary.
“Harris County is the auto theft capital of Texas, which means they have a very high-caliber auto theft task force,” said Jason. “We reached out to the elected sheriff for Harris County and gave him a brief summary of the activity we were seeing on this property.”
Collaboration at Its Finest
After the initial meeting between Stealth and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Task Force, the sheriff deployed some undercover officers to the apartment community. Stealth shared valuable evidence, maps, and other relevant information to enhance the success of the operation.
Simultaneously, the HCSO Task Force deployed a “bait vehicle” to sit at the property. The team at Stealth worked with the detective and property management to make this happen, even obtaining a parking pass for the bait vehicle so it would blend in with the other cars in the lot.
During the early stages of the operation, there was one incident that prompted a high police response, causing the site to go “cold” for approximately four days. This incident revealed the effectiveness of the joint efforts, as law enforcement actions had temporarily deterred criminal activity.
Expanding the Investigation
Stealth’s video review team worked closely with customer success to conduct a law enforcement-level investigation of the footage from our cameras. It was determined the suspects frequented a specific building at a neighboring property, also under Stealth’s surveillance. Due to the widespread adoption of Stealth’s live video monitoring service in this area, Stealth was in a unique position to consolidate footage from multiple properties and retrace the ingress and egress of the perpetrators to their criminal staging areas. This video evidence was shared with the detective from HCSO. Working with property management, law enforcement identified some of the suspects and the apartment they frequented.
Following these developments, an elusive person at the initial property was spotted by Stealth trying to break into vehicles at the adjacent property. Stealth promptly called dispatch on the subject, which led to a swift response by HCSO. With a massive law enforcement effort, including the use of K9s, the suspect was ultimately located and apprehended.
Days later, the remaining suspects were seen on the property looking for vehicles to burglarize or steal. The Stealth team contacted the police dispatch immediately. HCSO responded quickly, but the suspects fled. HCSO brought in helicopter pursuit, equipped with infrared cameras to detect heat signals emitted by individuals who may be trying to hide. As a result, all three suspects were located and arrested.
To date, Stealth’s monitoring department has called to dispatch police to the property three times, resulting in eight arrests.
A Big Win for Stealth
Stealth maintains an ongoing partnership with the HCSO auto theft detective, who keeps us informed about the activity in the area. As the bait vehicle undergoes repairs for a dead battery, the detective plans to assess the current situation at the property. If issues persist, Stealth and HCSO will collaborate once again to deploy the bait vehicle and apprehend any remaining suspects.
To learn more about our proactive live video monitoring solutions, contact us. Texas Private Security License Number: B14187