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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