Local News

Bank Officials Hope Better Surveillance Technology Will Prevent Robberies

Posted December 16, 2002

— The Hillsborough National Bank was robbed Monday. It is the latest in a string of holdups that includes 14 Wake County banks since Nov. 1. In most cases, surveillance cameras captured a look at the robbers, but investigators say a better look would help them clear the cases faster.

Video from bank surveillance cameras helps police identify bank robbers. The text on the screen sometimes covers important images, but it is necessary. The date, time and location are used by prosecutors when robbers are tried.

A Fidelity Bank branch in Morrisville moved to multiple color cameras and placed a monitor right on the teller counter as a deterrent. Most bank surveillance systems record images from multiple cameras onto a VHS tape, but the improved system takes images randomly and of varying lengths.

Officials said the system is checked every morning to make sure it is working right.

"They're looking at each and every camera to make sure that the quality of those pictures are what they need to be," said Steve McClure, senior vice president of Fidelity Bank.

Bank officials also said the tapes are replaced often.

"We usually use it three times and we archive it after that and use a high-quality VHS tape," said Fidelity Bank Security Manager Jo Sorbi.

Officials said banks will soon replace VHS recording with a digital system.

"The digital systems do allow for more rapid pictures to be taken, more frames per second as well as being able to view them over a wide area network," McClure said.


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