‘Caught on CCTV’ — how many times do we read or hear those words?
With cities worldwide sitting under the gaze of millions of public and private cameras, it is no wonder that in many cases, the best chances of identifying an offender starts with the image caught on CCTV.
But, the simple task of getting an image can sometimes be a challenge so it is no wonder that people look at the shortcut and simply take a picture of the CCTV monitor with their phone. It’s quick, simple and you immediately have an image.
This is great when recognition is time critical. The image of the ‘man in the hat’, the 2016 Belgium terror suspect, was first released after a snap of a CCTV screen. Then, a few days later, the forensically acquired evidential images were released.
When something is not time critical, then the correct acquisition of the original video will help immensely in any integrity or authentication issue. Not only that, but if any restoration or enhancement is required, then you will have a much better chance of image recovery.
Faces and vehicle licence plates are often requested for recovery. They have two matching characteristics – high detail. It is these high details that are lost when a piece of CCTV is captured incorrectly, snapped from a PC screen, re-recorded with the analogue video output, or obtained any other way that changes the original digital structure.
An added problem with some of these processes is that small details can change shape and become blended together. Letters and numbers on licence plates start to look like other digits.
It can be frustrating to use multiple pieces of software with a need to ensure no loss of quality during every stage. This obviously adds extra and unnecessary time to the workflow. Time that is extremely valuable in today’s policing environment.
A by-product of using Amped FIVE, the ‘all-in-one’ solution, is that investigative decisions can be actioned much faster. “Am I going to get something from that?” If the answer is no, then it’s time to move on. Spend the time on what is achievable and negate the impossible.
If there was not a correct acquisition of this original video, it may not have been possible to enhance the dark image to recover the details of the vehicle and license plate.
Licence plates usually stay within the policing world but faces, clothing configurations, and tattoos regularly end up in the press, social media, and within online galleries for recognition.
Therefore, it’s worth taking a bit of time with these to ensure the highest possible chance of some good intelligence. It can also avoid some embarrassment – reading through public comments on a few sites makes for painful reading due to the image posted being so bad!
Read the full article originally posted on Police Oracle.