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Game cameras being used to fight crime

NATCHEZ — Game cameras normally capture photographs of wildlife, but lately they are bagging a far more elusive target.

Natchez Police Detective Jerry Ford said game cameras have been helping NPD catch criminals in the act. The police department uses cameras in areas they need extra eyes, Ford said.

“It’s a great asset to the police department because once (the cameras) get a picture of a suspect, it’s easy for us to confront a suspect (with evidence),” Ford said. “It almost gives them no way to maneuver out of it.”

Game cameras are also an additional layer of security for property owners, Ford said.

Local resident Sammy Atkins has 22 game cameras set up in the area and has been buying the cameras for approximately 20 years.

“I’ve had them since they originally came out, when they were 35mm cameras,” Atkins said. “Now I have some that shoot eight megapixels.”

Atkins also has cameras that will snap a photograph and instantly send it to his e-mail.

“Within a minute you’ll get the picture, and within whatever the response time is, the police can be there, he said. “I’ve caught several people trespassing with my cameras.”

Atkins has also caught an arsonist and burglars with the cameras. He has also helped some people get out of trouble with the cameras.

“I’ve been able to defend people with them, too,” he said. “Someone has accused someone of having their dogs on their property, and I’ve been able to show them pictures that prove that wasn’t the case.”

Game cameras cost as little as $75, Atkins said, and the money is worth the peace of mind. Some of the better cameras cost a few hundred dollars, Atkins said.

“I think everybody should look into it,” he said. “For $100, you can secure your house … for $100, you can be safe.”

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