17 Crimes That Were Solved Thanks to Surveillance Footage

Surveillance cameras have become a vital part of crime fighting in the last few decades. In nearly seven out of 10 murders, surveillance footage is used to help solve the crime. Fortunately for law enforcement, criminals don't seem to be getting much smarter, even as the technology to catch them is. The world is becoming more and more surveilled each day thanks to the falling costs of cameras, and crimes are routinely being solved thanks to all forms of surveillance footage. 

More and more, criminals are being thwarted by surveillance cameras, with some burglars even being caught in the act by homeowners monitoring real-time surveillance footage of their houses from afar. The number of crimes caught on surveillance cameras continues to rise, leaving criminals everywhere scrambling.

From catching petty thieves, murderers, and even terrorists, surveillance footage is now an integral part of law enforcement. Sometimes the entire criminal act is caught by one camera, other times, fragments of footage from several different cameras are pieced together to identify the culprits. Either way, surveillance has undoubtedly made a sizable impact on crime and law enforcement, and with the increasing use of things like body cameras for officers, this trend is sure to continue.

  • A Foil-Covered Bank Robbery

    Two would-be Brazilian bank robbers were apprehended in 2016 after they tried to use head-to-toe foil suits to fool the alarms at a Santa Catarina bank. Even if that had worked, the guys probably should have focused their escape intentions on the security cameras, which picked up the robbers as they crawled through the bank and tried to break into the safe. Police were immediately called and the two men were taken into custody.
  • The Abduction of a 22-Year-Old Woman

    Carlesha Freeland-Gaither was abducted in Philadelphia in 2014. Local police were aided by cops from Maryland who saw surveillance footage and connected the dots back to a man they suspected of a crime in their jurisdiction. The police tracked down the car that was used in the crime, rescued Freeland-Gaiter, and arrested the man.

  • The Case of Grand Theft Livestock

    "Grand Theft Livestock" is an actual thing and two Florida men were charged with the crime after stealing cows from a Florida ranch. More than one surveillance camera was used to track down the cattle rustlers in a story that seems more befitting of the Old West than modern times. Unfortunately, the cattle were sold at an auction and sent to butcher before the perpetrators were caught.
  • The Boston Marathon Bomber

    The Boston Bomber story captivated the nation in April 2013. The terrorist attack was followed by a days long and very public investigation that was broadcasted over nearly every news network. Surveillance videos were integral in identifying the suspects and their eventual captures. The videos revealed the Tsarnaev brothers and their movements during the Boston Marathon and subsequent bombings.
  • The First Criminal Caught by Police Drone Surveillance

    These four men, who were pulled over for suspected drunk driving, probably didn't set out to be the first, but they hold the honor nonetheless. Upon being pulled over, they jumped out of their car and into a nearby cornfield. Officers then unleashed the newest weapon in their arsenal: a thermal imaging capable drone. With thermal eyes in the sky, it was easy for the officers to find the men and charge them with multiple offenses.
  • The Murder of Leiby Kletzky

    Leiby Kletzky was an eight-year-old boy who disappeared after school in 2011. Footage from several different surveillance cameras were pieced together by Yaakov German to solve the boy's disappearance. Kletzky was tracked a certain ways on the cameras before he appeared to disappear with an unknown man. The identity of the man was discovered shortly thereafter and he admitted to the murder of the child.