Mission police expand camera use to solve crimes

The arrest in an armed carjacking was the first success the for the Mission Police Department, as they implemented phase two in a high tech project to use cameras to fight crime.

Jesus Villareal was arrested earlier this month in connection to the armed carjacking on Shary Road, thanks in large part surveillance video caught in one of the new cameras.

"We were able to identify the suspect vehicle that was used," Chief Martin Garza said. "We are up to 32 cameras in the first and second phase."

At a cost of $395,000, the cameras are mounted along the major crossroads coming in and out the city, with a simple purpose, according to Chief Garza.

"We're going to be able to solve some crimes that are happening within those areas either seeing a suspect vehicle leaving the City of Mission or coming into the City of Mission," he said.

The cameras were bought using money from drug and cash busts.

By next year, the third and final phase should be complete, "To go more into the inner crime, inner city part of Mission, and at the same time, the downtown area."

In addition to the cameras, the department will have more patrol units on the streets.

Five new ones arrived recently, and nine more will be in place by February 2013.

Officers will monitor these cameras 24 hours a day. Police hope it will only help catch criminals, but also help with response time to accidents in those areas.