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Robbery video surveillance

Updated December 23, 2009

The most serious recurring crime investigated by Cerritos Sheriff’s personnel is robbery. These crimes occur on streets, parking lots, banks, fast food restaurants and retail venues. The current rate of solving robberies is approximately 25 percent, but in reality, less than one in 10 robbers is caught, convicted, and sentenced to prison.

All robberies at least have the victim as a witness. Unfortunately, witnesses often cannot positively identify the suspect or provide good information upon which to conduct an investigation. Sometimes, even when victims positively identify the perpetrator(s) in court, it may end up being a “one-on-one” case resulting in a hung jury. Without something more than the victim’s statement, even robbers that are caught may not be held accountable for this serious crime.

One of the most crucial tools that detectives can use to solve a robbery is a clear image of the perpetrator(s) provided by a still camera or video system. This greatly aids the investigation by producing a true picture of those involved, and alleviates the need to rely on witness descriptions for the preparation of a composite drawing. Unfortunately, when investigating robberies, Cerritos Sheriff’s detectives have found that most businesses are not equipped with any type of video surveillance system, or do not have one that provides a useful picture of the suspect. Some of the most common problems encountered are poor picture quality due to old or used tapes, improper camera angles, and failure to change tapes in a timely manner or even load the video recorder with a tape in the first place.

The Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center is requesting that businesses review their existing system to determine exactly how effective it is. The quality of the images and the angles of the camera(s) where a robbery suspect might stand during a crime are very important. Make sure that the camera angle is adjusted to ensure a good image of the suspect’s face. This is very important.

Failure to periodically check and maintain a video surveillance system almost guarantees that the crime of robbery in your business will never be solved. Keep in mind that robbers continually commit this crime and often hurt victims and witnesses. The sooner these dangerous criminals are caught, the fewer such crimes can be committed in the future and the safer your business and city will be. Help Cerritos detectives by inspecting your system today.

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