Recent tragic events in our nation have given way to the importance of retail and business surveillance systems as a major contributor in criminal investigations. Most notably was the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing in which the suspicious behavior of two men was captured by a Lord & Taylor video camera near the finish line of the marathon. Teamed with extremely sophisticated surveillance technology, this video is what led authorities to the suspects. Within a few short hours after the images were publicly released, Boston police were in hot pursuit of the two men.
Another horrific event captured by a retail surveillance camera was the January 2011 shooting of U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others outside a Safeway Supermarket. Clear video footage showed the gunman entering the store with another man, originally thought to be an accomplice. After further review of the video, the man was later found only to have been the gunman’s cab driver leading authorities to believe the gunman acted alone. In a quote from an article in USA Today, “Video showed the gunman placing plugs in his ears before walking outside. The expression on his face showed the determination of the shooter and what his intent was as he walked from victim to victim.” This evidence resulted in a guilty plea and a sentence to life in prison without parole. Again, the critical importance of business surveillance is proved as a major contributor to catching criminals and having them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
These high profile cases certainly brought national attention to the use of security surveillance, but CCTVs help capture everyday criminal activity from car thefts to child abductions. Recently, both Wal-Mart and Costco used their video surveillance systems to catch a string of purse snatchers where victims were also dragged by vehicles and injured. Target has even gone a step further and set up a forensics lab to help the investigations of both retail and non-retail related crimes occurring in or near its storefront locations.
With the latest video surveillance technology, these cameras are even more effective crime-fighting tools. Many cameras set up at retail locations can record up to a mile away and use powerful facial and object recognition software. This technology allows each person caught on video to be isolated and searched for on other surveillance systems, such as the Boston Marathon bomber when multiple surveillance images of him were found and released.
Unfortunately, criminal activity will always be a threat to our society. However, the installation of retail and business video surveillance systems is a proactive attempt to reduce crime. In another quote from USA Today regarding retail surveillance states, “This is a really important aspect of what retailing does. There are crimes that are solved every day as a result of their video equipment.”