The Amesbury Beat: Video cameras solve crimes | News

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It’s likely most professions that have been around for some time are easier today than in the past.

Construction crews benefit from hydraulic equipment to dig and build quicker; auto mechanics utilize computer systems to diagnosis woes; robots help speed up the assembly line and physicians have all kinds of equipment to see you inside and out.

Police officers have also been able to utilize technology with better communications, equipment, innovative training and investigative tools. Solving a criminal case is like placing the pieces of a puzzle together to create a picture of what happened; those pictures are much clearer today, thanks to the number of private and public video systems.

It wasn’t long ago when the cost or quality of a video system prevented easy access. I recall watching many grainy VHS tapes of suspected shoplifters who appeared to be stealing in a snowstorm.

Today, digital photography and not-so-expensive systems provide investigators with much better glimpses of what transpired. While the debate of Big Brother watching our daily activities will never be settled, numerous victims are thankful justice was served with the help of video technology.

Given the wide selection and price ranges for video equipment, it’s easy for a homeowner or business person to become overwhelmed. Much like an alarm system, the purchase of a video camera is a great means of protection.

Fortunately, a little research can go a long way and a decent system can be relatively inexpensive. We’ve all seen videos on the evening news as police seek public assistance to identify a suspect. There’s no shortage of serious incidents reported daily and apprehending a suspect helps make every community safer.

Locally, police are quick to say the video age has been a game changer for investigators. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s difficult to dispute what the camera captures.

A vehicle involved in a hit-and-run crash in a shopping plaza parking lot, a suspect in a shooting, a thief stealing from a local business, and a suspect taking packages from a home; these incidents would have been nearly impossible to solve in the past without video evidence.

Amesbury police Detective Craig LeSage also noted the benefits of digital photography in regard to crime scene processing. In the past, forensic investigators would dust for fingerprints and then manually lift the print from the surface.

Unfortunately, some prints were destroyed during the process. Today, prints are digitally photographed prior to lifting and often provide a much clearer image.

Recently, a delivery vehicle struck a fire hydrant locally and was identified thanks to a neighbor’s Ring camera. Combining these images with social and local media resources helps disseminate the evidence to a wider audience for identification.

In closing, I would like to say thank you and wish our servicemen and servicewomen a very happy Veterans Day. The freedoms and lifestyle we enjoy came at a hefty cost and unfortunately too often people forget the sacrifices paid by so many.

We all need to appreciate the dedication given to make our nation strong for over 246 years. Please take a moment to thank a veteran or active member as we celebrate their service to our country this weekend.

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