Surveillance Video Part of Our Future After Helping FBI Identify Boston Marathon Bombers

By Tom Vigilante, Jr.

I wonder what would have happened if video surveillance cameras were not able to provide the Federal Bureau of Investigation any identifying evidence of the terrorists responsible for the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15.

Once the FBI released still images and good quality video surveillance footage from a Lord and Taylor department store that publicly identified two male suspects in conjunction with the Boston Marathon bombings on April 18, federal authorities had their needle in a haystack of evidence to launch a massive manhunt to track down the terrorists. A day after the video footage was made public, one terrorist was dead and the other was in federal custody, preventing further harm to people living in Boston.

There is no doubt that surveillance video played a crucial role in solving the Boston Marathon bombing. Video cameras have helped solve and prevent other crimes as well.

The criminal investigation of the failed car bomb in Times Square in 2010 was helped enormously by surveillance video. Closed-circuit television footage identified four men involved in the London subway bombings in 2005 that killed 56 people. Phillip Markoff, who became known as the Craigslist killer, was captured in part because of video footage identifying him at the scene of the crime.

According to NBC News, more than 30 million video surveillance cameras have been installed throughout the United States over the last decade. There are surveillance cameras everywhere and you cannot operate on public property and public streets thinking that anything you do is private. And people are asking for more video cameras to be installed to catch criminals and deter terrorists.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, there is probably no other capital city intensively photographed as much as London. Great Britain currently has approximately 2 million surveillance cameras installed, which is an astounding one camera for every 32 people in the country. An average person walking throughout London can expect to be viewed on surveillance video hundreds times a day.

While privacy and civil liberties groups have recently expressed concern about too many video surveillance cameras being available for the government to view, I believe the good heavily outweighs the bad when it comes to having Big Brother watching over us. If surveillance video can help law enforcement officials solve a crime and prevent other crimes from being committed, I believe it is a fair trade for all of us to appear on video surveillance every now and then.

After all, what more could have happened if video surveillance cameras did not capture images of the Boston Marathon bombers?

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Well Maintained Video Cameras Can Prevent Costly Obstructions

By Tom Vigilante, Jr.

Living in Phoenix during the summer, one might think the only weather element you have to deal with are the hot temperatures. And although those of us that live in the desert still maintain it’s a dry heat, we also have to routinely deal with large-scale dust storms between May and September each year.

More commonly known as haboobs, these massive dust storms sweep through the entire city, causing low visibility for drivers on the roadways and a flurry of news coverage from local television stations. They also leave layers of dirt transfixed on homes, businesses and parked vehicles.

Haboobs also cause problems for us in the video verification services industry because layers of dirt can block a camera’s view while monitoring a company’s property and assets. Light rain mixed with dust turns into dirt spots on the camera lens, causing a nuisance while trying to accurately identify objects on video. Our company, Centralized Vision, provides pro-active protection of property and assets for businesses using remote-camera monitoring with real-time response options. Any obstruction for video cameras we are monitoring could be the difference in preventing a crime or being able to apprehend a perpetrator.

Because Centralized Vision technicians are constantly monitoring numerous video cameras 24 hours a day, we can always alert our clients if there are obstacles in preventing us from protecting their assets.

Below are a few suggestions on how to maintain video cameras in order to provide optimum viewing:

  • Installation: When installing video surveillance cameras, it is imperative to make sure they are directed properly so they cover a full range of the property. Blind spots in camera coverage could allow thieves to escape without having video footage or a photo image to forward to law enforcement authorities.
  • Landscaping: Each month, it is a good idea to make sure bushes and trees are not blocking each camera’s view. High winds and storms can cause branches to fall and constant rain may cause vegetation to grow rapidly, standing in the way of a camera’s view. Landscapers can also hinder proper viewing if they use blowers to clean pathways, causing dust or dirt to collect on the lenses of video cameras.
  • Wiring: Periodically, it is essential to make sure wiring for each camera is not exposed or in danger of being ruined by moisture, animals or insects. Not keeping an eye on this may cause a loss of power to the camera or interrupted viewing because of a short in the wire.
  • Focus: Having a blurred image or video footage makes it more difficult for law enforcement officials to track down criminals. Wind, moisture or various movements can cause a camera to be out of focus.
  • Lighting: Make sure video cameras are not pointing into direct sunlight at certain points of the day to cause a disturbance in coverage. It is also essential to make sure external lighting sources are working so that maximum video surveillance can be maintained at night or in dark settings.

Having a modern video surveillance system along with 24/7 monitoring from Centralized Vision is a great investment to protect a company’s assets and to minimize financial loss. But just like every other investment, periodic maintenance is key to achieving the maximum results.

Tom Vigilante, Jr. is President & Founder at Centralized Vision. For more information on real-time video verification services or GPS monitoring, go to centralizedvision.com or call 855-888-8094.

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