How police investigations evolve as surveillance cameras improve

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – When a crime occurs, police often turn to surveillance cameras to help catch the suspect. Our RAdm Smith takes a closer look at the importance of this evidence and how it has evolved.

A suspect was arrested in an armed robbery in Burlington within 24 hours of the crime.

Police say Ian Gardner, 35, stole the cashier’s cell phone to prevent him from calling the police. They say Gardner held a knife and told the cashier to lie on the floor and not get up.

Charles Handy owns Simon’s gas station on Park Street. He says that after one of his employees was detained at knife threat, police used surveillance video from the store to quickly identify Gardner as the suspect.

“They saw the tattoos on his arms, both of them identified the guy really quickly and arrested him, I think, last night,” Handy said.

Handy has several gas stations in the city center.

He says that over the years the quality of the security cameras he uses has improved dramatically.

“Years ago the cameras weren’t very good. You could barely see the person. Right now you can see them so closely, ”Handy said. “You can even see the tattoo on his arm or hand. You can see the color of his eyes.

We reached out to Burlington Police for an interview about this incident, but received no response until this story was posted.

South Burlington Police Chief Shawn Burke said when it comes to investigating these crimes, videos and photos are vital.

“It’s not just what’s available in a store that’s crucial evidence, of course, but what surrounds the area in terms of other leads that we can find,” Burke said.

According to Burlington Police Open Data Dashboard, the number of thefts in the city has decreased compared to previous years.

From 2012 to present, police report a total of 234 armed robberies in Queen’s City, an average of 23 per year.

Burlington Police are reporting nine robberies in 2021, which is well below that average.

Burke says that with the evolution of technology, the speed of an investigation has also changed.

“Especially when it comes to suspects we know, we can quickly return it to our internal systems and pass it on to officers to help identify suspects in the case. Also, the ease with which agents can exit and retrieve this medium. People don’t come out with videotapes, VHS tapes to amass that anymore, ”said Burke.

The chief says having cameras in full view and posting signage could help deter someone from even attempting a theft.

Gardner is currently being held without bail and faces several counts, including robbery and aggravated assault.

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