By Betty Yu

FREMONT (KPIX 5) – Police and residents in Fremont credit the increased use of home surveillance cameras for a sharp drop in burglaries. The cameras have become so popular that Thursday’s police workshop on surveillance was moved to a larger venue.

People who live in the Scott Creek neighborhood in Fremont said since the cameras were installed, there was only one break-in in the past 18 months.

Whenever you enter the neighborhood, you are being watched and your license plate is recorded.

“It’s much more of a deterrent than we imagined,” said Ken Thomas, who lives in the neighborhood. “When you come in the front gate there will be a camera pointing right at you, and I’m sure that some guys have wandered in there taken one look at that camera and said don’t want to risk it.”

Thomas and his neighbors raised $3,000 to buy high-resolution cameras for the community, after a rash of break-ins in 2012. Nearly every home is harmed with cameras, and they seem to be keeping the bad guys away.

Many residents in the neighborhood have systems that can access the cameras anytime on their cellphones.

“It’s something that really anybody can purchase and install in their home,” said Geneva Bosques of the Fremont Police Department.

It’s why more than 250 residents packed a video surveillance workshop Thursday night, hosted by Fremont Police. The department has five burglary detectives handling more than a hundred cases each per year.

When it comes to cases with crystal clear video, Bosques said, “They do become a higher priority for us, than a case that doesn’t have it, especially if the quality of the video is good.”

Police said burglaries have dropped significantly in the last year, with the help of surveillance cameras. In 2012, thieves stole $7 million worth of mostly gold and electronics. That number has since dropped to $4.8 million.

Flavio Poehlnann said he is ready to pitch in for a community camera after a break-in on his block last week.

“If you see it happening at the house right next door, then it might as well have been you,” he said.

According to police, the most recent burglary was last month. Police said the victim installed high quality surveillance cameras, they were able to identify the suspect quickly.

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