WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Security cameras, more than alarms, are helping police solve crimes, investigators say.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, police on Long Island are hoping to use surveillance technology to track down a thief caught on camera stealing thousands of dollars worth of copper behind a Wantagh electrical business.

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The business’ owner heard an alarm and came running outside. He threw a rock at the thief’s windshield and grabbed his shirt as he began to speed off.

The bandit then hit the gas, nearly running over contractor Joseph Mutino and his employees in the getaway, the video showed.

The victims said they are grateful for their security system.

“It alerts us on our cellphones, mobile devices or on our desktop (computer) that someone’s been in the yard,” Mutino said. “It’s motion-activated. Sends out a small tone, and we know to look up and see what’s going on.”

Detectives said they’re confident they will catch the crook because Mutino’s surveillance cameras recorded the car and license plate number.

“The system installed with everything was under a thousand dollars,” Mutino said.

He said he does not have the security system at his home, but that he “should have it.”

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Homeowners are increasingly installing surveillance systems.

“The last five years, I would say 50 percent of our residential customers are putting in remote camera systems, so they can view remotely and also store the information at their house,” said Joseph Ingegno of GC Alarm.

The systems cost “$500 for the brains, and then depending on what kind of cameras you need, depending on the lighting outside, anywhere from a hundred to $500 per camera,” Ingegno said.

The system triggers an email video clip showing why the alarm went off at your house, whether it is inside or outside.

“Companies like ours can monitor alarm systems and camera systems remotely, but you could also do it yourself,” Ingegno said. “You can have it on your smartphone or you can go home and review it on your computer.”

Having your home monitored costs about $1 a day. Experts say as security becomes more sophisticated and competitive, those prices could drop.

Police say having stand-alone home alarms without a monitoring system doesn’t pay off because many thieves are no longer scared away by beeping sounds.

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