The role of technology cannot be under-emphasized in the developments since Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing. A surveillance camera perched on the rooftop of a business captured what turned out to be some of the key videos of two men wearing baseball caps loitering around the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Literally, within hours of releasing images of the two suspects Boston police were in face to face contact with them.
Advances in technology have accelerated public awareness of manhunts such as this. Even before the Boston police released specific images, other agencies and civic-minded people were pouring over and analyzing numerous videos and images already posted on the internet by witnesses.
Being able to circulate quickly and over a massive amount of area (nationwide-worldwide) images and videos are essential to law enforcement’s ability to attain a lot of information and look for suspects very quickly. I know when I see a picture, video or drawing on the internet or TV of someone who is wanted for a crime or even a missing person, I immediately begin to think if I have seen them. The human brain processes those images and will also store them in your memory. I’m sure someone said, “I know those two guys, they are brothers and they live just down the street!”
The technology available today uses powerful object and facial recognition software that can speed through a massive amount of video and photographs taken by smart phones, personal cameras and surveillance cameras before, during and after an event. The best of the best forensics software actually uses mathematical algorithms to determine the shape and positioning of a person’s eyes, nose, lips, eyebrows and hairline. Every image captured can be isolated and searched for on other videos applying the same technology.
Also Big Data or data mining technology could come into play as they investigate further things involved in the bombing. By using data mining technology, SKU for items used can determine place and time of purchase and correlate that to surveillance video of the cash register.
I used to think that too much video by businesses and individuals was a little intrusive of my privacy rights. How very much my thinking has changed and I am so thankful that this technology has been and will continue to be prevalent in our lives.
Surveillance equipment is affordable and easier to install than you think. We no longer live in Mayberry RFD anywhere in the United States. Be vigilant about your own safety and security.