CAUGHT ON CAM: You’re being recorded and may not know it
February 26, 2013 in Technology
TUCSON — At any given moment, the cameras are rolling and catching you on videotape at 8 Tucson locations. The Tucson Police Department can get a hold of that video whenever it wants. News 4 Tucson investigates when and how it can be used.
The red light and speed cameras that snap photos if you break the law, are also recording those intersections 24/7.
Ferdinand Rambaud is one of the officers who reviews citations and tapes. The Tucson Police Department is working to solve multiple cases using this video surveillance. He showed us this stolen Honda. The cameras helped find the suspect connected to a string of stolen vehicles.
“A lot of people that are in a hurry and try and do something illegally, forget the video is there,” says Rambaud.
They’ve also recently used video to identify a suspect in a pedestrian hit and run.
“I think it’s very helpful. For the victim, it’s huge!”
But not everyone is thrilled about being caught on camera.
“I think it’s an invasion of privacy,”
says driver, Travis Feltman.
“Well, there’s always that element that feels that big brother is watching them or they don’t want to be filmed in those situations,” says TPD Sergeant, Steve Culbertson.
It’s not recorded locally, so if the department wants it, they request it from the vendor. If they find the video useful, it can be used as evidence in court, but is this legal?
“Being recorded throughout our daily activities is nothing new or nothing exclusive to the police department. There’s nothing that prohibits that,” says Culbertson.
It doesn’t stop there, now insurance companies are utilizing it too.
“Nobody ever stands up and says, “I was the one that ran the red light and I was at fault,” but it gives us conclusive video evidence that one or the other was in violation.”
In 2012, 42 requests were made for video providing conclusive evidence for most of them.
“A lot of this job is bits and pieces of a puzzle. You put this piece to help make the puzzle go together and that’s part of it,” says Rambaud.
The TPD radar vans can also be used to help solve crime, but do not record video.