“Video killed the radio star,” a song by THE BUGGLES
By Alex P. Vidal
We owe Marie Van Brittan Brown a gratitude for giving the world the closed-circuit television (CCTV) system. Because of this invention, we are able to solve some of the most gruesome crimes captured by video cameras installed in specific areas at home, offices, streets, and other public places.
CCTV system, first installed by Siemens AG at Test Stand VII in Peenemunde, Germany in 1942, has helped authorities unravel some crime mysteries — murders, burglaries, robbery-holdups, rapes, abuses by nannies and domestic employers, traffic altercations, vehicular mishaps, gang-related violence, and even street brawls and muggings.
Because of CCTV system, the raid conducted by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) on the radio station of Aksyonradyo Iloilo 720 on August 25, was captured and can now be used as evidence in the criminal and administrative cases the station management is preparing to file against the team, composed reportedly of neophyte policemen from the Iloilo City Police Office.
Technology indeed is awesome. The video that showed armed SWAT men swooping down on the station was a “damning” evidence and its immediate release to public through social media prevented the raiders from concocting stories and possibly planting evidence to justify the use of excessive force like kicking an unarmed security guard already down on all four and asking employees to strip, among other unnecessary acts of police brutality.
And once the video taken from CCTV monitor has been uploaded to the Youtube and “shared” in Facebook and Twitter, it can go viral thus making it impossible for offenders, who may wish to suppress the evidence, to erase or delete it.
Brown, born in Queens, New York and died at the age of 76 on February 2, 1999, invented the home security system with patent number 3,482,03 granted in 1969. Her system had a set of four peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look at each one. Anything and everything the camera picked up would appear on a monitor. Also, a resident could unlatch the door by remote control.
German engineer Walter Bruch was responsible for the technological design and installation of the system which became commercially available in the United States in 1949. Major thoroughfares in Metro Manila and in many parts of the country are now equipped with CCTV system. Crimes have been solved through the help of the video surveillance gadget.
The Iloilo City Council, in fact, has enacted an ordinance that requires business establishments to install CCTV systems in the wake of a series of robberies that rocked the metropolis last year and this year.
The most recent analysis conducted by the Northeastern University and the University of Cambridge revealed the following: Surveillance systems were most effective in parking lots, where their use resulted in a 51% decrease in crime; public transportation areas saw a 23% decrease in crimes; systems in public settings were the least effective, with just a 7% decrease in crimes overall.
When sorted by country, however, systems in the United Kingdom accounted for the majority of the decrease; the drop in other areas was insignificant.