Butte-Silver Bow Police Captain Doug Conway says security cameras make his job a lot easier. "Video is a great source of evidence to investigators," he told the Montana Standard.
Recently, a burglar broke through a glass door and left RD's Party Shop, in Butte, Montana, with as much beer and as many cigarettes as he could fit in his hands. The man had no idea that a security camera was pointed at him. Police were able to release images of the suspect to the media and the man was quickly apprehended. That's the forth break-in the store has been subject to in four months.
But just because a store has a security camera, doesn't mean there will be an arrest. Often times, stores purchase poor, cheap equipment and then once it's installed, poor placement and bad lighting can leave law enforcement scratching their heads. "Business owners should think about spending the extra money to get a better system," Conway told the paper. High quality images can lead to better identification of facial features and other details, and often times can help identify even license plate numbers on a get-away car.
Some blame the recession for recent increases in crime; as more people lose their jobs and life savings, they're more willing to turn to theft to feed their families and their habits. As crime becomes more and more of an issue, business-owners in Montana are becoming more and more concerned about protecting their property and their employees at all costs.
But buying a quality surveillance system is just the first step. As Conway suggested, cameras need proper placement. For example, a camera placed too high will only get you pictures of the top of the thief's head. Considering most criminals wear masks and hoods, that's not going to help officials identify the person. It's also a good idea to keep your system updated and to keep up with the latest technology. Roy Morris, the owner of RD's Party Shop in Butte, said he likes to upgrade his system every three to four years.