How Important Is Video Surveillance To Investigators?

The Boston Marathon bombing suspects were
identified after the FBI reviewed surveillance-camera footage from a department
store. Security cameras are used just about
everywhere these days. But how useful are they
for investigators trying to crack a case?

Investigators use the footage from
security cameras all the time to search for suspect. Before security cameras were invented,
investigators had to use police lineups, mug shots and drawings to narrow down
their search. Although it might take
time to sort through the footage, it's a necessary step to solving crimes.

Sheila
Boler is the Assistant Manager for The Liquor Locker in Augusta. And even though
she works nights, she isn't afraid of robbers thanks to her store's security
camera system.

“I
think it's very important because it helps keep us safe. You know, for those
that come in and it's a potential robber or whatever… because someone is
always watching,” says Boler.

Thankfully
the folks at The Liquor Locker have never been robbed. But if something like
that was to happen there, the robbery would be recorded by the store's 16 security
cameras.

“There is nothing going on in here that is not being
recorded,” says Boler.

The
security camera system records all 16 feeds straight to a computer. Boler says
Richmond County investigators have asked her for footage from the cameras
outside the building so they could identify suspects from crimes committed
across the street.

Richmond County Sgt.
Michael McDaniel says as the technology gets better, it becomes easier to
narrow down their searches.

“It's
actually very easy now compared to the way it use to be years ago as far as
positively identifying someone with photos. It's a huge tool. We use it every
day in just about every aspect of the crime,” says McDaniel.

McDaniel
showed us surveillance of two women suspected of shoplifting at several stores
in the area. He says he is confident the public will help him identify the
women.

“Without
it we would, well, the crime rate, as far as solving crimes, would probably not
be as high as it is today,” says McDaniel.

McDaniel says that some local gas stations
and liquor stores have better security camera systems than your big box stores.
He says the higher quality systems can sometimes be so difficult to navigate
that some store owners don't even know how to turn them on.

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