Eyewitness testimony has always played an important role in solving crimes and heavily relied upon by law enforcement and the court system. Law enforcement processes the information in hopes of attaining enough information to find and convict the criminal. In court, juries tend to see eyewitness testimony as a reliable and place a lot of weight on that person’s ability to relay information about the event, as well as the perpetrators. However, just how reliable and accurate is eyewitness testimony? New studies shed light on the psychological factors related to eyewitness testimony, and give good reasons why surveillance camera footage is critical.
Research Uncovers Why Memory is Spotty
People tend to think of memory as their own video surveillance camera with a rewind button that allows them to perfectly recall the details of any event. That’s not anywhere close to how memory works, however. Research has actually found that recall is affected by many factors, including stress, fear, and selective attention. Since crimes are highly stress and fear and inducing, it impacts the details witnesses can recall later.
For example, if a weapon is used during a crime event, witnesses are much more likely to be able to describe the weapon in detail than able to describe details of the perpetrator’s face. This is because the mind places more importance on the weapon and the attention is automatically drawn there. This is not very helpful in reconstructing events, or finding and convicting criminals but without access to video surveillance footage, it’s all we might have.
Surveillance Camera Footage is Critical
There is no doubt that video surveillance systems play an important role in retail, restaurant, grocery and convenience store security. Individual recollections are easily influenced by personal beliefs and expectations, cultural influences and stereotyping as well as other psychological processes. Video surveillance systems serve as the backbone of criminal cases and is the one unbiased witness to events.
You Have to Get Right, Though
In the world of video surveillance systems, choice, application, and placement matters. Camera and surveillance technology is complex and there are many features and options that play an important role in just how effective your system is for you.
One simple example is how your choice in types of cameras and placement impact things the surveillance camera’s image quality, ability to handle low light or darkness and variances in light within a given area. The wrong types of cameras and placement might mean restrictions in the field of view, lighting additions, or inability to use tilt and zoom to capture suspicious activity.
Headquartered in Melville, New York, S-Tron is a national security systems integrator with local, professional service and installation.