LocalSYR

Grandmother touts surveillance success as Syracuse neighbors await more crime cameras

Police say they’re ready to install new crime cameras on the streets of Syracuse if the School Board approves of the plan next week. But do the cameras really cut down on Crime? One local woman says they helped put a burglar behind bars.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Police say they’re ready to install new crime cameras on the streets of Syracuse if the School Board approves of the plan next week. But do the cameras really cut down on Crime? One local woman says they helped put a burglar behind bars.

Janet "Sue" Bonaccio lives close to her granddaughter and always felt safe in her home, until cash started disappearing overnight.

“I went to my purse. There was $35 missing that time. It was just there the night before. This was Sunday, $35 gone,” said Bonaccio.

Bonaccio called Syracuse Police for help, but without evidence of a break-in, the case went cold. Then, clues emerged that the burglar had returned.

"She called us one morning very frantic and she told us that her back window was open and it was broken,” said Nicole DeMauro who installed security cameras for her grandmother.

Nicole convinced her terrified grandmother to invest in a surveillance system, which later revealed their biggest fear -- a young man circling Sue's home with a flash light at 2:00 am.

"We were jumping up and down and screaming and our hearts were racing and we were so excited that the cameras worked. Yet, we just felt so frightened that we saw someone peering in her windows and trying to get in,” DeMauro continued.

DeMauro says she spent just over $300 for eight night vision cameras around her grandmother's home. The image was so clear, an officer spotted the culprit within days of seeing an internal alert.

"I said 'you got him!!' That was less than a week after she installed them,” Bonaccio said.

With his face captured on camera, police say the teen confessed.

Bonaccio's surveillance system is private, placed on her own property, at her own expense. But, after several public crime cameras were installed on Syracuse's West Side, some residents pushed the city to expand the program. Plans were drawn up to install 19 more cameras in high-risk neighborhoods, with some of the images fed through part of the school district's wireless network. Months later, the expansion has been delayed amid concerns about protecting student privacy and property.

The school district has signed off on a deal, but the school board must approve it before police can move forward. As families continue waiting, Nicole can't help but wonder what might have happened if she'd waited.

"You could not put a price on clarifying to my grandma that somebody indeed was targeting her and to catch the person and to see him arrested. You know, it was worth every dime spent and the 16 hours of work it took to get the cameras put up and ready to go,” DeMauro said.
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