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Inaccuracies of Surveillance Cameras

November 5th, 2018 at 1:16 pm

cameraA suspect thought to be targeting and shooting random people in Loyola Park near Chicago is believed to live in the area after a surveillance camera spotted him walking down the street masked in black. Police believe that the man who has killed two people in the past two days has a distinctive way of walking and running, as the video surveillance points out. Police say that he walks with his feet pointing outwards, or duck-footed. While video does show the distinctive characteristic, the problem with relying heavily on this type of information is that it could lead to the arrest of the wrong person. Many people walk with their feet pointed outwards, and because the suspect’s face is fully covered, no other characteristics are visible other than his gait. Surveillance footage is typically grainy, the suspect in the footage may be in the background or partially out of the frame, and the angle of the camera may cause distortions or irregularities. On top of this, surveillance footage is often overly relied upon by jurors and is sometimes considered foolproof evidence that the defendant committed the crime.

Surveillance Cameras and Retail Theft Charges

Surveillance cameras are everywhere in stores. From department stores, grocery stores, and restaurants, chances are that every customer is being watched by a camera at any one time. Cameras are often placed even in dressing rooms, with one purpose being to monitor customers’ buying habits so to better advertise to them, in addition to keeping tabs on potential theft. However, camera quality varies widely. Some cameras are hidden and use high definition and software to recognize faces, while others are simply the standard grainy cameras typically spotted mounted on the ceiling. While retail and convenience stores are known to use cameras, virtually all establishments from restaurants and health clubs to bowling allies and bars do too.

Parking Lots, Public Streets, Parks, and Other Places

Chicago is the third most watched city in the world when it comes to surveillance cameras.  Chicago is only behind Beijing and London in terms of the number of surveillance cameras. A Georgetown University law professor who studies surveillance technology suggested that the general mindset of the public regarding surveillance cameras set up throughout cities on virtually every block is that individuals who are not willing to submit to this type of surveillance must be doing something illegal. Unless the defendant has a highly experienced criminal defense attorney, a jury can easily be convinced that a defendant is guilty of a crime:

  • Simply because they were caught on camera in proximity to the crime location; or
  • Because the defendant looks vaguely like the person committing the crime on camera.

Contact  Rolling Meadows Attorney

If you have been arrested for retail theft or for any other crime, contact dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys Christopher M. Cosley today at 847-394-3200. The presence of surveillance camera footage is not a dead end for your case.

 

Sources:

https://abc7chicago.com/video-released-of-masked-suspect-in-rogers-park-shootings/4401888/

https://vintechnology.com/2011/05/04/top-5-cities-with-the-largest-surveillance-camera-networks/

https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2013/06/20/191603369/The-Business-Of-Surveillance-Cameras

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Written by Staff Writer

November 5th, 2018 at 1:16 pm

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