On Lyndale Avenue, Jim Fiala's 16 cameras are always watching [VIDEO]

Categories: Crime
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Jim Fiala received an award from Minneapolis Police Chief Tim Dolan last fall
On Lyndale Avenue South, just across from the Loon grocery store, Jim Fiala's cameras are always watching.

About 15 years ago, Fiala's car was stolen out of his driveway, so he set up a camera in front of the house, a simple task for the retired electrical engineer. Over time, Fiala began adding more cameras. Today he has 16, eight in the front and eight out back.

They're on 24 hours a day.

"I never know when something's going to happen," Fiala says. "I'm not looking for something but I know that sometime, somewhere, in a day, a week, a month, something's going to happen."

Fiala's cameras have been helpful to the Minneapolis Police Department in numerous investigations and arrests. Records obtained by City Pages show that Fiala's videos have been used in cases ranging from graffiti to burglaries.

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Fiala's cameras caught this "crook" breaking into a neighbor's car
As far as police know, Fiala is a unique individual around town.

"Mr. Fiala has taken a very proactive role in providing video to us," says Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer. "I'm not aware of anybody else that does it the way he does, at least as an individual. There may be some corporate entities that do but I'm not aware of a citizen who does it like that."

Fiala says he would "hate to think" about how many 911 calls he's made over the years.

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Fiala's camera captured this car crash in 2007
"Between my cellphone and the regular phone there's probably over 100 911 calls," Fiala says. He has a "whole box full" of "probably 150 cases" and related DVDs.

His surveillance tapes have taught him how to recognize when a crime is going to be committed.

"After you've seen all of the stuff I've seen you get to really know when somebody's up to no good," Fiala says. "It's a dead giveaway."

Of course, Fiala's cameras don't simply capture crimes in progress. With the CC Club, Leaning Tower of Pizza, and Mortimer's in the neighborhood, Fiala's seen his share of drunken shenanigans. And so have thousands of people he's shared the videos with on YouTube.

We've set up a microsite for anyone interested in seeing the world through Jim Fiala's cameras. Click here to see the Lyndale spy footage.




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17 comments
Mary
Mary

As long as he decides what the police should see, this is another Trayvon Martin waiting to happen. 

SmithC
SmithC

Why's he so obsessed with watching other people? Perhaps to keep eyes off him?

Paigeguggemos
Paigeguggemos

This guy is a scammer. I made a documentary about him a few years ago for a school project, he was very cooperative but he didn't really know my angle.   My boyfriend and a few of my friends were wrongfully arrested off of tips he's given to the police and been payed for... there's a live interview in this video, I recommend watching it and considering all angles of the story.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

IzakFriend
IzakFriend

Minnesota is teeming with Gestapo-informant wannabees. They dream of the day in the future when they will be able to punch "S-I-C-H-E-R-H-E-I-T"  into their cell phones, and say, "A subversive is wearing white shoes on Lyndale and Franklin, and it's ten days past Labor Day." Three minutes later a black helicopter squad will land, surround the miscreant, and reduce him to a burnt lump, with flame throwers. Oh happy, happy day.

Citizen
Citizen

What a snitch...I hope his house is perpetually egged after this story. Get on that uptowners.

Hweezie
Hweezie

He rescued my runaway dog, after spotting him on camera, nosing through the alley late one night. I will always be grateful - no matter how naughty my lab is.

Joe
Joe

 I was thinking about doing something like this, but wasn't sure of the legality.

I'm all in now.

PM
PM

I never felt more safe than when I lived next door to this guy lol.  He taped a dvd on my friends scooter of someone walking up and sitting on it, then peeing on it then walking away.  Definitely my favorite dvd.  Jim's a nice guy, helped me fix some things on my car once, saved my butt.  

TheBlob
TheBlob

 regardless of how you want to diagnose this guy's mental state, you can't argue with the fact that his work is beneficial.

Mn Votur
Mn Votur

Minnesota hardly has the population or activity to even warrant such zeal.  With all the deadbeat absentee landlords in the cities, the city is being quite well ignored.  I'd be happy if even my neighbor notices a leaf drop in their yard let alone videotape a street 24/7 and have 911 on speed dial.  Clearly you are not from here.

twinsidious
twinsidious

 You're right. It's far better to let your car windows get smashed, your apartment broken into, your mail stolen, your dog stolen, and every square inch of flat surface in your neighborhood covered with gang graffiti. I can handle robberies, assaults, rapes, even having the copper stripped out of the building I live in, but for god's sake, please don't infringe upon the privacy rights of gang members and meth addicts who are merely out to get anything they can, any way that they can.

Joe
Joe

 I don't say this often, but dude... maybe you should read less...   Go outside or something.

Joe
Joe

 Didn't like seeing yourself drunk with your wang out on Youtube, huh?

Eggs aren't the solution.  Drinking less and not taking your wang out is.

A grateful neighbor
A grateful neighbor

You've got to be kidding. He is keeping our part of Uptown safer -- he has called the police on our behalf because of keeping an eye on his videos & seeing a stranger running out of our back gate in the middle of the night. When our bikes were stolen out of our garage, he reviewed hours of video footage to help us figure out how it happened. Not to mention that he has also given us the heads-up not to touch our back gate after he saw on his video some drunk guy peeing on the gate. I'll be disgusted if anyone eggs his house.

Guest
Guest

He taught me how to love a woman, and how to scold a child.

Eric Hunt
Eric Hunt

A college kid did this with just one camera out his studio apartment window in the Tenderloin neighborhood of SF (very seedy - drug deals 24/7) and very quickly took it down when it hit the local press and word got around. He realized his life was in danger.

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