The Boston Bomber & Amanda Berry: Surveillance Can Work in Our Favor
What a month it has been in the U.S. News. As America recovers from the shock of the Boston Bomber, we now contend with the chilling and horrific story of three women and a child who were rescued from a home in Cleveland. One thing is for certain, the difference between the quick identification, and arrest, of the suspects involved in the Boston Bombing incident contrast sharply with the ten years it took for law enforcement officials to find and arrest the individuals responsible for the abduction, and hostage scenario, that unfolded right underneath their noses.
What's the difference? There seems to be a fine line between when surveillance cameras seem prolific, and when there just doesn't seem to be enough. Where an abundance of video and photo evidence helped to nab the Boston Bombers, a lack of surveillance and follow through has cost three young women a decade of their lives.
Perhaps Widespread Surveillance Video Cameras Aren't Such a Bad Idea
In the case of the Boston Bombers, surveillance videos of a man removing a backpack and calmly walking through the chaos that unfolded when the bomb exploded, placed 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev at the scene of the bomb attack. This is a time where you have to wonder if the ample supply of surveillance videos are as bad as we sometimes think they are. While it might be uncomfortable to consider the idea of "always being watched," a scenario like this makes us grateful that surveillance video evidence was able to quickly point law enforcement agencies in the right direction.
More Diligent Surveillance Could Have Rescued Three Cleveland Women Sooner
On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have the case of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight. According to several neighbors, police had been called to the house several times throughout the past ten years for various reasons. Several years ago, Juan Perez called the police, and had his sister file a report, when he heard a "chilling scream" emerge from the house.
Israel Lugo, another neighbor, says that he called the police in November of 2011 when, "his sister saw a girl at the house holding a baby and crying for help." The police came, knocked on the door, and left when nobody answered.
There are a handful of other neighbors who called the police throughout the years. One saw a naked woman crawling in the backyard. Lugo's mother, the same Lugo mentioned before, called the police again when her daughter saw suspect Ariel Castro pull his school bus up to the home and enter with a bag of fast food and several drinks. The daughter, Lugo's sister, said something seemed wrong about it.
Fortunately, the 9-1-1 dispatcher paid attention when the recently escaped Amanda Berry called from the home of neighbor, Charles Ramsey, and the rest is unfolding as we type this.
Human Surveillance Can be The Most Powerful Surveillance
Amanda Berry, the two other women and Berry's daughter, were ultimately rescued when neighbor Charles Ramsey paid attention to her screams. Thank goodness that Charles Ramsey had the heart, and took the time, to inquire.
So often, we ignore our instincts, or a plea for help, because we don't want to get involved. However, in this case, without the actions of a neighbor who did the right thing, the three Cleveland women and a little girl would still be held in captivity. Human surveillance, or keeping an eye out for your neighbors, can be just as effective as video surveillance when you act on your instincts and remain persistent.
We wish Amanda Berry, her daughter, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight peace and the ability to heal from their horrendous ordeal. They are truly icons of human perseverance.
Mike Garroutte, owner of Linked Investigations, is a Private Investigator in Los Angeles and Orange County. He has worked as a surveillance investigator on thousands of cases through the past three decades. If you need professional and competitively priced surveillance services, contact Linked Investigations.