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With varying quality of security footage at Walden Galleria police have 50/50 shot at solving crime

Posted at 4:41 PM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 18:10:43-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Cheryl Williams-Manney parked in the garage across from the movie theater at the Walden Galleria like she always does and went inside for a 6 o’clock movie with her daughter.

When they came back out they found their newly purchased Chevy Malibu with paint streaking across the bumper and rear driver’s side.

The bumper was also dented and hanging in two places.

There was no note left on the car with insurance information, either.

Luckily, they were parked within direct line and close proximity to a security camera and Williams-Manney called Cheektowaga Police to report the incident

“We were told there really wasn’t anything they could do because the cameras don’t really show anything, they wouldn’t be able to get a read on a license plate.:

In fact, her daughter said police told them the cameras were “just for show”.

We reached out to Cheektowaga Police Assistant Chief Michael Sliwinski, he said he doesn’t believe that’s an accurate depiction.

He tells us it’s a “mixed bag” when it comes to the success rate for Cheektowaga Police getting useful security camera footage.

Sliwinski said it depends on the location of the security camera, the weather, whether it is stationary or can pivot, and the age of the device.

“50/50,” he said.

Williams-Manney still wanted to see the security camera footage for herself, and says once she saw it — it looked like a sonogram picture.

The officer who responded told her to reach out to insurance because the mall has cameras and “that’s about as much as they can do.”

Our legal analyst Florina Altshiler says the officer is right.

Walden Galleria is not required by any law to have security cameras, but the presence of having a security camera allows the mall to “check the box off” for insurance and lower its premium.

The cameras do not have to be a usable quality, they don’t have to be a certain age, and regular maintenance is not even required, according to Altshiler.

Williams-Manney said that concerns her because of more serious crimes that could occur in a garage.

“I’m upset about the car being damaged,” she said. “But my concerns is really, what if someone was attacked? You wouldn’t e able to tell them anything about their attacker or what happened. So, that’s more of a concern than a vehicle, which is just property.”

Numbers from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show more than 1 in 10 property crimes take place in parking lots or garages and 7.3% of violent victimizations take place in parking lots and garages.

We have reached out by email, voicemail, and with three calls to the Walden Galleria for a statement, but have not heard back. 7 Eyewitness News is working to protect your family and will continue investigating the security concerns surrounding the mall’s surveillance.