Thursday, July 1, 2010

Security Cameras Make Perfect Witnesses

Security Cameras Make Perfect WitnessesWhen a detective visits a crime scene, one of the first things he does is look for a security camera. Security cameras are becoming increasingly common these days. You can find them in everything from businesses to schools to government buildings and even in private homes. And they work a lot better than your average human witness to a crime.

Security cameras can perform a number of functions. Some say the mere sight of a camera in your home or business can prevent a crime from happening because the would-be criminal knows how easily the police can use the captured images to identify him. And in the event a crime does take place, police and other officials do have the best possible evidence when the crime was caught on camera. Images can be released to the public, through the media, in hopes that someone can identify the criminal. And of course, those images can later be used in court to prove that person committed the crime.

"People forget that we're always under surveillance, except maybe in our home. Once we walk out those doors, everyone can now see what we're doing and record what we're doing," Tod Burke, a professor at Radford University and former police officer told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

There is one problem detectives and other police officers often run into when dealing with security cameras: technical issues. There are so many different types of security cameras, often with many different features or using various types of software, that figuring out how to retrieve information isn't always simple. Detectives may find themselves pouring over hours and hours of video, just waiting for the right moment or for the right person to walk by.

Human witnesses are great for getting a quick story about what happened in the event of a crime, but when it comes to the details, the human brain isn't exactly reliable. Any number of things, including other witnesses, our own biases, or even questions asked by police officers can convince someone they saw something they didn't. It may be as simple as saying the criminal wore a blue shirt instead of a black one, or it could be that the witness thought she saw three men instead of two. But when a security camera is present, there is no doubt in anyone's mind as to the exact details of what happened.

1 comment:

  1. That is very true: people react differently when being watched by a surveillance camera! And images from the camera are undeniable proof to the law enforcement after the event of crime!