Famous Crimes Solved By CCTV

We take a look back at crimes where CCTV has proved significant in bringing the people involved to justice.

26 June 2016

CCTV is an extremely important element of our day to day business here at Netwatch and allows us to see in real time if security is breached and visually verify any intruders who are about to commit a crime. CCTV plays a massive role in everyday life now with cameras on streets, in shopping centres, business properties, many homes, it’s almost everywhere you turn. It also played a big role in catching the culprits behind the Boston Marathon bombings last April, which got us thinking about other crimes where CCTV has proved significant in bringing the people involved to justice.

The London Nail Bomber

  A 13 day bombing campaign in London in April 1999 aimed at minority groups brought terror to the city. Between the 17 and 30 April, 3 homemade nail bombs, each containing 1,500 four-inch nails which were left in public spaces around London, targeting area with large minority groups. The bombs killed 3 people, including a pregnant woman and injured 139, four of whom lost limbs. The Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch identified a man, later identified as David Copeland from CCTV footage of the first bombing. The image was given wide publicity forcing Copeland to bring forward his third bombing. Copeland was arrested the night of the last bombing and charged with murder. He was sentenced to 6 life sentences, with his release being ruled out until 2049 at the earliest.

Murder of James Bulger

In 1993, two-year old James Bulger was abducted from a shopping centre and was tortured and killed by two ten-year old boys in Liverpool, England. Police found low-resolution images of the abduction by two unidentified boys from the shopping centre’s CCTV system.  The breakthrough came when enhanced images were released on national television and a woman recognised one of the boys, Jon Venables and knew he had played truant with another boy, Robert Thompson that weekend. The boys were arrested and charged with murder and after a high-profile trial, the boys were sent to separate juvenile detention centres making them the youngest murderers ever in British history.

Nicola Edgington

The escaped psychiatric patient was filmed buying a knife and using it to kill a woman in October 2011. She was convicted and given a life sentence with a minimum tariff of 37 years.

The UK Riots

Between 6 and 10 August 2011, thousands of people rioted in several London boroughs and in cities and towns across England. The riots started in Tottenham London after a local man was shot by the police. Along with five deaths, at least 16 others were injured as a direct result of related violence.  Major British cities employ CCTV to monitor crime and large events and helped identify many of the rioters and looters as they failed to cover their faces. By 15 August 2011, about 3,100 people had been arrested, of whom more than 1,000 had been charged.

CCTV’s Future Role

CCTV plays a huge role in helping investigate serious crime as proven above. Without CCTV in place, some of today’s well known perpetrators would never have been found. It is simply one of the most vital tools for police and investigators worldwide. It adds to the crime-solving arsenal, allowing police to identify witnesses, offenders and patterns. Having footage can help support or disprove the account of a witness. It can pinpoint what happened, where it happened and how many people took part.


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