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Cameras can aid officers in break-in investigations

Cameras like the one that captured three armed men breaking into a Columbia home early Thursday can help investigators find the perpetrators of crimes, a police training expert said.

Three men broke into a Columbia home at about 3 a.m. Thursday, pointing guns at the people inside and claiming to be sheriff’s deputies.

A viewer sent ABC 17 News footage of the break in from a pet camera that matches with the police description of the incident.

Adam Duncan, director of training at North Star Training Group, said cameras such as that pet cam can benefit both homeowners and police in the case of a break-in.

“Assuming that the images are recorded, it gives us evidence. It gives us evidence of not only who it was, so we get a picture of the person, etc., but vehicles,” Duncan said.

He said recordings from cameras can also provide information about possible witnesses.

“It may be that we don’t get a picture of the vehicle of the suspect, but we get a picture of a passerby or a neighbor. Someone that may come up later on as a witness,” he said.

Duncan said this can aid investigators in the investigation. He also said video can help in court because it is hard to refute.

Duncan said some cameras, such as those on doorbells, can actually allow homeowners to stop a crime as it’s happening by contacting law enforcement in time.

Verlin Beam has a been an insurance agent for 15 years. She said those types of cameras and others can provide residents both security and peace of mind.

She said it can also deter people from breaking in or damaging property.

“I think just the fact that you have cameras sometimes deters, you know, just people wondering if there could be a camera or where it’s at,” Beam said.

She said some security cameras have become much more popular in recent years. Some insurance companies will give discounts for certain types of cameras.

Duncan said if homeowners catch criminal activity on camera, the first thing they should do is send the video to law enforcement that will conduct the investigation.

“One of the things to be aware of is the officer that hands you their business cards at the scene may or may not be the officer that’s following up on that case,” he said.

He said cameras for home security are much cheaper than previous years and require little to no maintenance.

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