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Video Forensics: Catching the Crooks on Camera

Advice To Businesses

How can businesses make the video investigator's job easier? Many businesses try to save money but buy the wrong cameras. A webcam may be great for recording things two feet away, but are horrible if you want to see things happening across the street.

Placing cameras to cover too wide of an area is another common mistake. Cameras should cover small sections of space. Much can be learned from casinos, which have some of the best surveillance systems - they generally dedicate one camera per table.

Have a professional or law enforcement official come in and recommend the best camera angles. They might save you from making easily-correctable mistakes. For example, it doesn't make sense to place an expensive camera in a spot that records people only from the neck down!

Also remember the simple things: many businesses often don't keep their cameras or recorders clean. An investigator at Cognitech's training class said, "businesses just buy the recorders and never clean them. Some tapes are so bad that they will only play on the original recorder."


While video forensic experts may not be as well known as their blood-and-hair-gathering counterparts, they do valuable work in catching criminals. In this day of widespread video surveillance, someone has to clean up and interpret the horrible video that is often recorded by well-meaning businesses on tight budgets.

Cognitech's Video Investigator program has some good filters that enhance and reconstruct video. Turning bad video into good evidence helps catch the crooks.