DURHAM, N.C. — Bank robbers should look out. There is a new high-tech tool in Durham to help police.
Two branches at Cardinal State Bank in Durham have been robbed three times in the past eight months. Now, bank officials and the Durham Police Department are part of a pilot program they hope will make a difference.
One Durham police cruiser now has the capability to get real-time video on the cruiser's laptop computer from the bank's surveillance cameras.
"As soon as a robbery occurs, some form of alarm is activated and, at that time, as soon as the alarm is activated, the video goes directly to the police department," said Wendy Wagner, of Cardinal State Bank.
Police officials said the video will allow them to assess the situation inside the bank as well as cutting back on incomplete witness descriptions of a bank robbery.
"Any tool we have that gives us the ability to see the person ourselves or see the vehicle ourselves is going to give us an advantage," said Durham police officer Aaron Ligo.
"I am hopeful it will deter whatever robbery that could occur at the bank," Wagner said.
The police department had to outfit the cruiser with an antennae and new software for the laptop, which was already in the car. The system is only activated if a robbery is in progress.
Since it is a pilot program, the Durham Police Department did not have to spend any money on the program. However, if they wish to expand it, they will have to pay for it.
Last year, there were 279 robberies in North Carolina. Raleigh led the way with 28 robberies, of which only nine cases were unsolved. Durham had 14 cause and only four remain open. So far this year, there have been 11 cases in Raleigh and six cases in Durham.