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Surveillance Video Plays Key Role in Investigations

10:45 PM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Surveillance video and photos are obviously playing a key role in the investigation into the Boston Marathon bombings. The FBI has asked anyone with any video to turn it over to law enforcement to help with the investigation.

Law enforcement experts say that when you leave your house, chances are, you are being watched.

"You'd be surprised at the number of times people don't really realize there's a camera. For example, if you get into an elevator, many elevators have cameras. So, the first thing I do when I get in an elevator is I look up in the corner to see if there's a camera so I don't start singing some song or dancing some dance and next thing I know it goes viral in the internet," says Former FBI Special Agent In-Charge Bernie Tolbert.

Tolbert tells us that right now, investigators on the Boston Marathon bombing case are busy spending hours going through thousands of videos and images collected from cell phone cameras, surveillance cameras at businesses, even ATMs.

"We've gone to ATM to get their videotape, someone's making a transaction and it's capturing something in the background that law enforcement's interested in," says Tolbert.

Retired FBI Special Agent Peter Ahearn says surveillance cameras started being used in the public domain in the mid-1960s, and several years ago, getting a hold of the amount of video we are seeing from Boston, would have been next to impossible.

"As the years have gone by, and the technology has become better and cheaper, they've been deployed a lot more frequently in cities and towns," says Ahearn.

Cameras watch you at the store, on the road, pretty much everywhere you go.

And, if you find yourself shooting your own video at or around a crime scene, Tolbert says it is better to turn your images in rather than just not saying anything at all.

"People often might not realize what they do have. In addition to their eyes, what they see, people need to be aware that they may have something. They may be shooting a picture of something and something is in the background. Actually, I think for individuals who may say, oh, I don't have anything, I say, let law enforcement determine. Give it to them and let them, they're not going to say oh we're not interested. They're going to look at it and it may just be something that'll be of some value," says Tolbert.

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