Low-Tech Surveillance Video Hurting Crime Solving

Sledgehammer beating case highlights issues with poor quality video

By Jeff Burnside and Brian Hamacher
|  Wednesday, Dec 21, 2011  |  Updated 10:36 AM EDT
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A major problem police and business owners are encountering when crimes are caught on tape: law-quality video that fails to get a good look at the suspect.

A major problem police and business owners are encountering when crimes are caught on tape: law-quality video that fails to get a good look at the suspect.

The culprit behind the vicious sledgehammer attack on a Miami store clerk remains at large, despite the brutal beating being caught on video.

The case highlights a major problem police and business owners are encountering when crimes are caught on tape: law-quality video that fails to get a good look at the suspect.

Surveillance video from inside Alex's Mini Market on Northwest 12th Avenue captured the suspect spraying victim Yue Kui Cen with an unknown chemical before hitting him several times in the head with a sledgehammer in the Sunday attack.

Cen remains in critical condition, and though police have a description of the suspect, it's hard to make out his face from the video.

Not all surveillance cameras record poor quality video, and in many cases, South Florida businesses are getting rid of outdated equipment in favor of high-tech gadgetry.

At restaurant ROK:BRGR in Fort Lauderdale, owner Mark Falsetto has installed some more expensive systems.

"The best part about this system is it's in real time," Falsetto said, as he showed off cameras which feature a system that can be watched on his phone. "Last night I was on the plane coming back from New York and I pulled up the iPad to just check on the business and see how we're doing, see if we were busy and also make sure everyone was doing what they're supposed to be doing while the boss is away."

The cameras are most often used to watch for employee theft, employee training and vendor theft. Security consultant Brad Minto says armed robbery is rarely the top priority.

"You're getting a clearer picture of the bad guy's face, so to speak," Minto said. "High definition cameras, infrared lenses, lenses with auto focus, those are the things you want to look out for. on top of that you want to have a professional installer to be able to install the cameras in the right positions, to be able to catch the bad guys."

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