Is it just me or have there been quite a bit of reports of bank robberies throughout the nation lately? As disturbing as those stories might be, I know that the electronic security industry has done its fair share to prevent these robbery attempts. So, when I received a press release from Advanced Technology Video (ATV) highlighting how video surveillance technology helped the Potosi (Mo.) Police Department arrest two men who robbed the Unico Bank Potosi branch, I couldn’t help but smile.
There are currently 16 cameras monitoring Unico Bank; however, the suspects attempted to avoid being captured on surveillance footage, according to Don Marston, president of Monday Security Corp., security systems integrator for the financial institution.
“The suspects parked where the outside cameras wouldn’t pick the car up,” he says. “One of the robbers then came in, looked around and then went to get his partner.”
Little did the suspects know that only days before the robbery, Monday Security had installed ATV’s Height-Strip camera. Featuring 600TVL, the camera covertly embeds into height strip housing. It is intended to be mounted on the door mullion at the exit of banks, retail establishments or general offices, according to Keith Shaver, vice president of marketing and sales, ATV.
“Typically when suspects enter a building, they attempt to hide their faces from the more typical overhead surveillance cameras,” he says. “But when they exit, they are usually moving quickly with little regard to hats and hoodies as they are running full bore out the door for a quick escape. The ATV Height-Strip camera provides a perfect opportunity for facial image capture as a suspect exits the building.”
Not that Unico Bank had to worry about that during the incident. The bank robbers were so confident that they would get away with the crime, they failed to cover up their faces.
“It was terribly bold, but in this area, the last two or three bandits didn’t cover up,” Marston says. “But in this case, because they didn’t cover up, everyone knew these guys so the police were able to catch them very quickly. I guess they thought that they were so invincible that they wouldn’t get caught.”
Started in 1921, Monday Security brokers more than 30 lines of banking equipment. With 23 employees, the company rebuilds, refurbishes and reinstalls antique ornate vault doors, as well as pre-owned banking equipment. The firm also installs video surveillance, fire and intrusion alarms for its financial services clientele.
It took two-and-a-half hours for Monday Security’s one-man crew to install the ATV Height-Strip camera at Unico Bank, mostly due to wiring issues. “With the way the ceiling is made, it took a while to run the wire because it had to go up decoratively. Other than that, it would have only taken 10 minutes,” Marston says.
Marston, who remembers pulling images from old school film cameras in an effort to help law enforcement officials apprehend criminals, says Monday Security and Unico Bank chose the ATV Height-Strip camera because of the high quality images that it captures.
“This particular Height-Strip camera is in focus the whole time. With the pictures that it takes, you couldn’t go to a photography studio and pose and have a better picture taken!”
All gushing aside, Marston, who remembers pulling images from old school film cameras to help police officers apprehend criminals, says that it’s the integrators responsibility to offer the best quality camera to clients — despite the brand. Not only will it make the end users happy, but it will help build strong relationships with law enforcement agencies.
“I’m sorry to say this, but most cameras are mediocre at best. Every time something happens, it so affects the camera that sometimes you don’t get any pictures,” he says. “When you go into court and the image is blown up, it’s so pixelated that you can’t recognize anything. Remember that the better picture that you can use is still the quickest way to catch a crook.”
Ashley Willis | Associate Editor