WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - With a recent spike in armed robberies, police say that timing counts in catching the criminals. Police say when a business is robbed, business owners will most likely give them any surveillance video they have. But investigators also say that getting that video sooner and in better quality could help crack a case.
According to police, they normally get surveillance video from business owners two or three days after a crime has been committed.
"The companies want us to have it," said Linda Rawley, a spokeswoman for the Wilmington Police Department. "But because of the delay sometimes it takes with a lot of corporate entities to release it to us, to sign it over, to download it, to save it to a film so we can get it…that delay can hinder us when it comes to catching someone."
Investigators credit images from video surveillance that PNC Bank had in helping them catch the suspects they say robbed the bank last week.
Police say that if you do have cameras installed, make sure images are clear. They also recommend placing cameras at head height so that full facial features can be captured, adding that entrances are usually the best location to focus cameras.
Plus, they advise to only use digital equipment, which is now inexpensive and easy to use.
"A lot of times, the surveillance video is old and outdated," said Rawley. "Some people are still using VHS. So we're living in a digital age when some of this crime surveillance video is very affordable and it can actually come straight to your cell phone."
Police say that you can buy a good camera system for under $200, and that they will actually give you a free commercial video surveillance assessment or training session.