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How To Protect Your Home and Catch a Thief With YouTube

Get the whole world in on your neighborhood watch and use social media to fight crime.


  • Step 1: Direct as many people as possible to the footage to increase the odds that someone will step forward with information. Post the video link to to crime-watch web sites, neighborhood blogs, and local news organizations. Use traditional methods like flyers and posters as well to make sure the criminals have nowhere to hide.
  • FACT: Atlanta homeowners Dave and Alyssa Kopp used video footage posted on YouTube to catch burglars twice in two years.
  • TIP: Police often accept anonymous tips.
  • Step 2: Post your footage online to YouTube and other video-sharing sites, along with relevant information like your city and neighborhood, and the phone number for the police tip line. Ask that anyone with information on the break-in contact the police. In the event someone comes to you with info, pass it along to official investigators.
  • Step 3: If a break-in occurs, notify the police immediately. Let them know you may have video of the event that you'd like to post online in order to aid the investigation; coordinate your efforts, making sure to follow their instructions.
  • TIP: Some departments have an established protocol for using social media to gather information from the public.
  • Step 4: Install visible security cameras by points of entry, like doors and windows, to act as deterrents to potential thieves. Put smaller, hidden cameras throughout the house to monitor any intruders who gain access. Leave the cameras on at all times, and hide the recording device well to prevent thieves from stealing or destroying it.

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