Guilford County, NC-- The sheriff's office explained how they use surveillance video to solve crimes. It's a long and complicated process to find clues.
Sgt. Moore with the Guilford County Sheriff's office said that surveillance cameras is one of the most important technological devices in solving crimes.
After a crime happens, the first step is actually getting the video. Sgt. Moore explained that many times store owners and clerks don't even know how to access their cameras.
The sheriff's office relies on their forensic department to figure out how to download the video. Sometimes they call their camera specialist in the middle of the night to get the video from the business.
Once they have the footage, the department has to look through it, which can take days depending on how many detectives are sorting through.
"A lot of times we have to go through video footage from a couple of days trying to look and there's no quick way to do it. You have to look frame by frame. I guess you can fast forward it a little bit but you still have to be able to see who comes and goes," said Sgt. Moore.
There are a few things the Guilford County sheriff's office can do to enhance the quality of video footage to make the images more clear and possibly identify someone. They can zoom in, lighten up the picture, and change the colors to show different elements in the picture. Sometimes you can sharpen the images by taking out the blurriness.
However, Sgt. Moore explained that if the initial quality is poor, there is usually nothing the sheriff's office can do about it.
"If you enlarge a picture, especially on videos, you get what you call pixilation. It makes these pictures into little squares. It's unrecognizable that you can't see."
In 2010, the sheriff's office solved a bank robbery because of a man's sweatshirt caught in surveillance video. The man who robbed the bank was at two pawn shops three days earlier. He was wearing the same sweatshirt at the pawn shop and when he robbed the Bank of America in Pleasant Garden. From that, the sheriff's office was able to identify the man and make the arrest.
WFMY News 2