View Full Version : CCTV Question

06-01-2010, 01:04 AM
Okay, CCTV footage plays quite a big role in my crime novel.

However, last week we suffered a break-in at work, but we caught the b****** on CCTV. What shocked me is that it took the police 10 days to collect the footage.

So, does anyone know if this is normal? Or would they be quicker in murder/kidnapping investigations? If this is the norm, it creates time scale problems in my novel.


06-01-2010, 01:11 AM
Usually quicker. In the US, the morning TV news will often have the video of a robbery committed the day before.

The police were probably slower in the situation you mentioned because it was a break-in rather than a violent crime; still, ten-days to collect the video seem unusually slow.

06-01-2010, 01:22 AM
Well ten days to collect it, or ten days to 'process' it? Type of crime will affect the sense of urgency, of course. A murder investigation would generate confiscation almost immediately. I say almost, because it's quite possible that they may have to jump through legal hoops depending on the situation. A murder in a mom and pop business, where the owner is behind the counter, and can say "Sure, here it is..." and hand them the tape - is much different than a murder at a facility owned by MegaCorp corporations, that may or may not be in a big hurry to turn over 'all pertinent surveillance video's' untill their lawyers have had a chance to review them... which might take days or weeks

Hell the government can't even get BP to turn over surveillance footage of a leaking well head in a timely fashion...

06-01-2010, 05:45 AM
I think there are lots of factors, but that if it screws with the timeline of your novel, write the novel as you wish. I personally wouldn't find it a fault if it was faster than that (or longer, if explanation was given), and I like crime novels.

06-01-2010, 10:26 AM

Yes it was ten days to collect it.

06-01-2010, 04:20 PM
Gothic, did that answer your question or would you like me to move this over to Experts for wider viewing?

06-01-2010, 04:55 PM
Hey, I'm an expert, I deal with this stuff all the time.

You basically want to know if a reader, someone who knows police procedure, would have an issue with the tape being collected straight away: not at all. Most surveillance stuff these days is digital and can go straight to disc, so you could have it in minutes.

I did have a sex assault case where the cops forgot completely, so that's possible, too. :) But you're fine with collection (and processing) anywhere from hours to days.

06-01-2010, 09:56 PM
Thanks Mark.

Maybe moving it to Experts would be a good idea. Thanks Jude.

Drachen Jager
06-01-2010, 10:57 PM
Had a murder in an alley out back of a school I went to once. The police were all over the tapes and such the next morning and those cameras weren't even facing the scene of the crime, they were just hoping the criminals came from the right direction to be caught on the camera.

Theft is just a much lower priority for police than murder.