Cops, Crimes & Videotape

By: Lauri Martin Email
By: Lauri Martin Email

Two robberies occur everyday in Colorado Springs and police say anyone can be a target, even you. But, a new computer system that enhances surveillance video may helps cops get more bad guys off the streets.

It's not quite CSI, but it could make your family safer.

On average, we're caught on tape 10 times a day. Think about it, while you’re picking up groceries at the store, when you're walking across the street or dropping your kids off at school. Sometimes, surveillance video catches the unexpected, but cameras also catch crimes.

For example, a crook walked into a Colorado Springs liquor store clerk and shoots at the clerk. He barely misses him. Seven months later, that same liquor store is robbed again. “The first time it happens, you're scared. The second time it happens, you're mad and we're mad," Tom Jackson, owner of Bob’s Liquor says. He’s mad and determined to track down the suspects, but often times, even with videotape, that's not so easy because surveillance video can often times look like a bunch of flash frames taken from multiple camera angles. "It's got to go through all these camera angles before it gets back to robber. We’re missing critical images," Detective Anderson, with the Springs Police Robbery Unit, says.

Those images would make it nearly impossible for police to see the crime in action. That is, until now. "It's a computer based forensic video system," Det. Anderson says. In short, it's called “dtective”, a crime-fighting tool the Springs Police Robbery Unit never had before. "It gives us a new opportunity to take surveillance video and peel it apart. There are some clarifications we can do, but it’s not like CSI. You can’t do it in 2 mouse clicks. From beginning to end, a complete forensic analysis on a 2 minute video is hours of work."

In a robbery that happened back in February at a Loaf ‘n Jug, the woman clerk is thrown to the ground and robbed at knife-point. The video enhancement is able to catch the entire crime on tape, including a good look at the suspect.

The system takes the pieces of the crime puzzle and puts them together to help catch criminals, which is exactly what Jackson wants for his liquor store and not just for his own peace of mind. "If they would do that to us, what would they do to you and your husband in a parking lot?" If crooks do strike, the cops want them to know, they'll be watching.

Since the system is still relatively new, cops haven't tested it on many cases, but from what they've seen, the computer system will really help them. On a side note, the robberies mentioned this story remain unsolved. If you know anything about them, call Crime Stoppers at 634-STOP.


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