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Growing number of surveillance cameras being used to fight crime in D.C.

Growing number of surveillance cameras being used to fight crime in D.C. (Lindsay Cooper Surveillance Footage Screenshot)

If you look closely at a number of Capitol Hill row houses you will see cameras looking back.

In the 600 block of 14th Street Northeast, one of the neighbors believes her home surveillance cameras helped in capturing murder suspect El Hadji Alpha Madiou Toure, 28, who police say bound and stabbed 34-year-old artist Corrina Mehiel, of North Carolina, before torturing her to get her ATM pin number last week.

"I contacted them and I sent them the video and said, 'This is your suspect,'" Neighbor Lindsay Cooper said.

In surveillance video from the day before Mehiel's body was discovered, Cooper's surveillance camera shows a man believed to be Toure walking past her home wearing white pants with a torn knee. The man looks toward Mehiel's place in the video. Two and a half hours later, a car believed to be Mehiel's drives past Cooper's cameras.

"I'm 100 percent sure ... he's wearing the same clothes, in the car walking by the house, in the other photos that were captured ... um, it's him," Cooper said.

The same man was caught on camera walking into a Maryland 7-11 wearing the white pants with a torn knee. Police put the video footage out to the public and identified him as a person of interest in Mehiel's death before finally making an arrest.

Cooper believes it says volumes for the District's surveillance camera program, even though she had her camera in place before it started. The city has helped fund nearly 4,000 cameras so far.

"And we do know of several circumstances where the video footage has been used to help MPD in solving crimes," Michelle Garcia, director of the D.C. Surveillance Camera Program, said.

Detectives credit tips and video from the neighborhood in helping them solve the Mehiel case in the charging documents.

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