Statistically speaking, many crimes are solved by law enforcement agencies because of the invaluable contribution of today’s technologically efficient video camera surveillance systems. Drug buy-bust operations use a variety of state-of-the-art miniature wireless camera system to record the transactions without necessarily alerting the perpetrators that they are being actively monitored.
Video Surveillance Systems
Catching a crook has never been this easy. Before surveillance cameras became the norm in undercover investigative activities, law enforcement detectives would physically monitor their targets by a variety of methods that include tailing and stakeouts. Unfortunately, in most of these cases, the perpetrators often get away cleanly because they are easily alerted to the presence of ‘eyes’ upon them. It would take a few weeks to several months before a solid case can be brought against them.
Then came video surveillance systems.
Video surveillance systems were first used in the late 1960s in New York as a means to fight crime. This was then expanded to function as an active deterrent against criminals. However, the technology at the time did not allow for continuous monitoring of criminal activity. Instead, videos were recorded on magnetic tapes which had to be manually removed from their casings and replaced with a new one. The time needed to replace the tapes gave enough time for criminals to carry on with their criminal activities.
Video Camera Technologies and the Law
The development of a small video camera turned the tide against lawbreakers. Technology has allowed the design and development of very tiny video camera systems that can be integrated into ordinarily-looking items to avoid detection by the targets of the criminal justice system. Some can be conveniently fitted into the barrel of a pen while others sewn into the buttons and pins of everyday clothing. Some bathroom fixtures such as a clothes hook can be fitted with a very tiny video camera that can record a day’s worth of videos, depending on the memory capacity of the video equipment.
Camera systems that offer wireless connectivity make possible the continuous tracking and monitoring of criminal activity, limited only by energy required to run the video camera. In fact a carefully placed wireless camera system can take the place of physical stakeouts for up to several days. All law enforcement agencies have to do is to remotely monitor the screen from the comforts of their offices or from the confines of a law enforcement vehicle.
How Video Technology Helps in Fighting Crime
The main purpose of video cameras in the criminal justice system is primarily as a deterrent to crimes. It is believed that when criminals become aware that they are being actively monitored and the likelihood of getting apprehended is high, they forego with their attempts to commit a crime. This is not to say however, that they will not resort to other means of circumventing these video technologies.
Secondly, a small video camera strategically placed on some inconspicuous object allows law enforcement agents to actively monitor highly sensitive targets so that they can be literally caught red-handed. These surveillance videos recorded from a very tiny camera act as an invaluable piece of evidence which prosecutors can use against the defendant of a particular crime.
Lastly, video cameras are excellent in providing law enforcement agents real-time information on crimes in progress. Hostage situations as well as robberies-in-progress can be managed more effectively if law enforcement officers have a better picture of what they are dealing with. Police officers on the field can remotely communicate with their commanders in the office through live feed from a wireless camera system that has its lens focused on the crime that is developing. This way, both office and field commanders can exchange notes on how to best resolve the situation before a tactical team makes headway.
The development of miniature camera systems coupled with advances in video compression and video storage technologies have brought unparalleled benefits to the law enforcement community. While there are still crimes committed every single day, these video technologies are nonetheless helping law enforcement agencies curb the incidence of crime.