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Neighborhood Watch Goes Digital in Ramsey County, Minn.

Ramsey County Sheriff's Office lets public view real-time footage from 10 surveillance cameras to help prevent crime.

Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
Ramsey County Sheriff's Office
[Photo: One of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office's surveillance cameras monitors the location shown in the photo.]

In Ramsey County, Minn., you don’t have to be a cop to fight crime. In fact, you don’t even have to leave your desk. All you have to do is join the county’s virtual neighborhood watch network and you’ll be able to lookout for suspicious activity from your computer.

Over the past year, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office has created a network of 30 surveillance cameras targeted at criminal hot spots, or areas with frequent vehicle break-ins, thefts and assaults. The wireless technology allows law enforcement officers to access live video feeds from their squad cars and substations.

But they can’t see everything.

With Neighborhood eWatch, the public can join in the fight against crime by logging onto the site and entering “public” for the username and password. On the website [], users gain access to 14 of the county’s surveillance cameras set up in various public areas. If users spot any suspicious activity, authorities want them to call the East Metro Real-Time Information Center (EMRIC), where analysts can pan, tilt and zoom in on potential incidents and dispatch deputies as needed.

Go to Government Technology to learn more about Ramsey County's Neighborhood eWatch program.