Caught on Tape: Cameras put a dint in crime

Cops use surveillance footage to catch bad guys, but cameras often poorly installed

A suspect is seen on closed-circuit TV at the Travelodge Hotel on Gorge Road on Sept. 19 at 7 a.m. A handgun was allegedly pulled on a staffer

About two weeks after a downtown business owner installed closed-circuit TV cameras in his shop, he realized he could have been blind to reality up to that point.

As the man sat in the back room working on his books, he peeked up at the live feed from the cameras as they played on his computer screen.

A man walked into the shop unheard, grabbed a jacket, and walked out.

“He would never have known that jacket was missing without (closed-circuit) TV,” said Ken Kelly, general manager of the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

Three years ago, the DVBA offered grants to its member businesses for installing surveillance video. Many took up the offer.

At the same time, the association paired up with Victoria police to launch Retail COP, which stands for Cameras on Patrol. It lets business owners share images of suspected shoplifters or fraudsters with one another and with the police.

Const. Mike Russell is the former co-ordinator for Retail COP. He said cameras help businesses identify suspects with police help, but also act as a deterrent to some potential shoplifters.

“Almost any business that starts up now installs surveillance,” he said, adding he believes about 70 per cent of downtown businesses are believed to have cameras. Of those, about five per cent have cameras installed properly.

Poor lighting, lack of focus and high angles make it hard to identify subjects.

“If you’re concerned enough to have surveillance, have a professional come in and install it,” Russell said.

Kelly said he hasn’t seen much of an increase in businesses installing cameras.

“It’s intriguing. There’s great value in them. However, for the most part, even though there is a large amount of retail theft that does go on in Canada, for our smaller stores it is difficult to do all that you have to do in a store, as well as keep an eye on the camera.”

For more information on Retail COP, visit retailcop.ca.

ecardone@vicnews.com

What do you think?

Give us your comments by email: editor@vicnews.com. All letters must have a name and a telephone number for verification.

Just Posted

9 Victoria-area restaurants make top 100 most scenic dining list

Open Table compiled the list by reviews from diners between June 1, 2018 and May 31 of this year

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

Average rent for one-bedroom in Victoria nears $1,400: PadMapper

Victoria sixth in Canada for most expensive rent

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Sun on its way after Greater Victoria sees wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say the drizzle is likely to end soon

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

The four-day festival highlights classic hot rods, with a special emphasis on cars built in 1932

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of July 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read