SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – There was a time when only police captured crime on camera, but not anymore.

Thanks to new less expensive technology like cell phones, home and business owners are expanding security systems often catching a criminal in the act.

Look around any neighborhood or business district, and you’re sure to see any number of private security cameras.

Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller says, “Surveillance videos, stills or event cell phone videos by onlookers are incredibly helpful in the investigation of any crimes.”

So much so, that from Chicago to rural Iowa, authorities are now asking business and homeowners with security cameras to register them with police.

“You register your name and address how many cameras you have, where they are located and an email address where we can make contact,” said Sgt Mackenzie Sposeto of the Waukee, Iowa police department.

Effectively growing the department without adding an officer. Sposeto says, “We need some additional resources we may contact you and say hey do you have a good time that we could come view the footage from a certain time frame.”

And a recent ABC News report shows the sale of doorbell and motion-detecting cameras nearly doubling from one year to the next.

Mueller says, “The price obviously has come down and a lot of folks are installing them themselves.” For now, Mueller says Sioux City isn’t looking at a registration program.

Vernon Meyer says, “Whether you’re a residential or business person, you want to find out who the perp is and come up with some conclusions.”

That’s why Meyer, a 4th Street business owner says he would have no problem with some kind of registration.

Vernon says, “We actually had a break in not so long ago and a neighboring business has direct access into our parking lot. So he was able to go back and look at the day and specific time. Certainly, the concept is a solid one.”

“Mueller says, That’s all we want is a partnership. That willingness for citizens to say look what I’ve got. If it helps please use it and that’s often the way it works.”

And much like in Europe, some U-S cities are installing their own surveillance cameras. Mueller says that comes at a considerable cost, one not in his current budget.