Police search for 'distressed' mystery woman

Police in Texas are searching for a partially-clothed "distressed" woman who has been ringing people's doorbells at night.

Posted: Aug 30, 2018 1:05 PM
Updated: Aug 30, 2018 1:24 PM

Surveillance cameras and home security systems are becoming crucial tools for fighting crime, slowly replacing the neighborhood watch and its army of invisible street guardians.

Some of the biggest stories in recent weeks have involved surveillance cameras providing police officers with evidence to help solve investigations.

In the most recent case, a mystery woman was captured by home security cameras in Texas repeatedly ringing doorbells in the middle of the night with what appeared to be shackles hanging from her wrist, leading to a nationwide effort to track her down.

Montgomery County deputies said Wednesday that they've identified her, but will not name her because she is a domestic violence victim. Without surveillance footage, there's no telling what could have happened.

And in the case of Mollie Tibbetts, the jogger found dead in an Iowa cornfield this month, it was a neighbor's home security camera that offered a key clue on the suspected killer after mystified investigators searched for answers for nearly a month.

Then there's the case of Houston cardiologist Mark Hausknecht, who was killed by a man while riding his bike in broad daylight last month. In the days following the shooting, the motive and the suspect's identity remained a mystery until surveillance video obtained by a neighbor near the crime scene allowed investigators to identify the suspect.

Here's why home security systems are gaining popularity among investigators:

They're in real time and on your fingertips

Technology is advancing every day and home security systems are getting more sophisticated. Some provide immediate results, with the ability to take pictures of intruders, detect motion and alert homeowners if there's suspicious activity, including trespassing, vandalism and theft of packages.

Other systems allow homeowners to see what's happening around their homes through an app on their phones, and can be monitored from anywhere.

The growing interest in home security cameras means more options and better prices, experts say, with the cost varying based on several factors such as size.

Social media has made it easier to share the footage from home surveillance apps, especially on platforms such as Nextdoor that allow neighbors to post information specific to their particular areas.

The information is specific to the crime area

Authorities are using private video surveillance cameras to help crack down on crime, with some police departments urging residents to register devices with them.

In Illinois, the O'Fallon Police Department asked residents to help fight crime by investing in neighborhood surveillance cameras and registering them with authorities.

"Video surveillance is one of the best methods for apprehending criminals and convicting suspects who are caught in the act of committing a crime," the O'Fallon Police Department said in a statement. "Installing video surveillance is a great example of community-police partnerships and is something we highly value as a police agency serving our community."

Residents register their surveillance cameras with the police and provide information such as an address and a phone number so the O'Fallon Police Department can contact them when a crime occurs in their neighborhood. Once registered, investigators can reach out to them and request to see their video surveillance footage when a crime happens in an area.

"It's an extra set of eyes and ears in the community, because we can't be everywhere at every time," Capt. Kirk Brueggeman of the O'Fallon Police Department told CNN affiliate KTVI last year.

"It's not the holy grail of law enforcement, but it is another tool in our arsenal for finding people and solving crimes. The more cameras out there the better because it keeps people honest," he said.

While officers can access the data, it's not public record, according to the O'Fallon Police Department.

Invasion of privacy is a concern

Surveillance camera footage has its drawbacks. In some cases, people post footage of an alleged crime without verifying information, which can lead to misinformation. Such footage can cause mass hysteria, portray someone unfairly and also make the person who posted it a target for retaliation or lawsuits.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
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Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
Wabasha16883
Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
Renville136539
Houston135313
Dodge13304
Chippewa130832
Cottonwood126518
Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
Pennington97715
Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
Yellow Medicine93314
Murray8655
Jackson85010
Swift83018
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65616
Lake62915
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59010
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4543
Unassigned43468
Grant4257
Norman4228
Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
Lake of the Woods1801
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
Harrison154462
Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82519
Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
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Lucas6468
Osceola6349
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