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Problems of Using CCTV Images for Forensic Purposes

Problems of Using CCTV Images for Forensic Purposes
October 31, 2022

Problems of Using CCTV Images for Forensic Purposes

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Problems of Using CCTV Images for Forensic Purposes

There has been an increasing development in private crime prevention. It has been witnessed that there is widespread growth in technology, and Closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems are one of them.

When experts of forensic assignment help talk about the use of forensic evidence, it is something that has been used for a long time. However, it still has its limitations. And in today's blog, we are talking about them in detail. Stay tuned!

Today's digital era is where digital forensic science first started to have an impact. Digital forensics is the activity of dissecting digital devices to look for facts required for legal purposes, in contrast to other forensic sciences, which are mainly linked to studying and searching for artefacts in living things.

In this instance, the static forensic method manages evidence in the form of CCTV (Closed Circuit Television). The chain of custody is a crucial element when handling this digital data. Two types of evidence are recognised in digital forensics: physical and digital. Digital evidence and electronic evidence are two phrases that are practically synonymous in this context.

What is electronic evidence?

Digital evidence is evidence that is taken from or recovered from electronic evidence, which has a physical form and can be visibly identified:

  • Computer
  • Smartphone
  • Camera
  • CD
  • Hard Disc

They can be a file, email, short message, image, video, log, or text). Chain of custody is a method used to uphold and guarantee the integrity of digital evidence and the process for temporally documenting the evidence (Prayudi and Sn, 2015). The degree of difficulty in treating digital evidence using a predetermined procedure depends on the features of the evidence.

Digital evidence has a number of traits, including the ability to be quickly copied, communicated, and manipulated as well as easily tainted by new data and time-sensitive. It is also highly likely that digital evidence will cross borders and legal jurisdictions.

The widespread use of surveillance cameras has given law enforcement an effective tool for recording individual activities in public spaces. If a crime or other act of interest occurs, surveillance cameras enable continuous monitoring of the area and the ability to save the film for later use. A forensic expert or expert witness may then be needed to examine the video of the Person of Interest.

What is the significance of CCTV images in forensics?

The evaluation of the strength of the evidence at the source and exercise levels is the ultimate goal of the examination. In this study, the trace—obtained in the form of CCTV footage—is used to determine the source and activity levels. The source level refers to characteristics of an individual's anatomy and gait, whereas the activity level refers to the activity in which the subject of the footage is engaged.

The value of the information captured determines how strong the evidence is; in cases where the activity level is strong, but the source level needs improvement. To ascertain the degree of each form of distortion contained in the footage, it is advised that the camera and the accompanying distortions be evaluated first and foremost and, if practical, quantified.

The evaluation of the strength of the evidence at the source and activity levels is the ultimate goal of the examination. In this study, the trace—obtained in the form of CCTV footage—is used to determine the source and activity levels. The source level refers to characteristics of an individual's anatomy and gait, whereas the activity level refers to the activity in which the subject of the footage is engaged.

The value of the information captured determines how strong the evidence is; in cases where the activity level is strong, but the source level needs improvement. Therefore, to gauge the degree of each form of distortion contained in the footage, the camera and the accompanying distortions should be evaluated first and foremost and, where practical, quantified.

Challenges of CCTV images in forensic evidence

A surveillance camera at a crime site will undoubtedly prompt an investigator to analyse the footage as the first step in their inquiry. However, too frequently, recordings could be of better forensic quality and have persistent issues with camera setups, which greatly complicate their task. Here are seven of the most typical problems we encounter.

The camera can't see the evidence.

Many surveillance camera installations still need to be carried out with suitable security analysis. That specifies precisely what use the camera will be put to and what viewing angle is required to record the most important events and information.

Incorrect camera placement

Unsuccessfully placed cameras can overlook crucial details.

Should it concentrate on a specific instance of a perimeter violation, or will the recording likely need to include more detailed information? It can be challenging for investigators to gather relevant image data when people in the observed area are either "not there" or too little. When a thief approaches the cashier wearing a cap, a camera looking down on him will not be able to observe critical traits that would help in identification. This is a typical example of a poor camera location that can be seen occasionally in stores.

PTZ camera 2. misses the action

From a forensic standpoint, widespread pan, tilt, and zoom (PTZ) cameras can occasionally be problematic. For instance, when a sudden incident occurs, the automatic "guard tour" in the camera positioned on a city street with 5–10 distinct PTZ positions is useless. On the other hand, forensic professionals can more readily demonstrate that the footage originates from one reliable device and that the recording hasn't been changed when static multisensor or panoramic cameras are utilised because the suspect is constantly visible in the camera view.

3. Analog camera photographs of poor quality

Police investigators will always want more information, even though the ongoing transition from analogue to IP cameras has significantly better video quality. Full HD is now regarded as the standard in new installations. Naturally, the more excellent resolution offers more detail, improving the ability to identify persons and objects. Full HD or 4K recordings, in contrast to the fuzzy and grainy images from outdated analogue cameras. as a result, it will provide investigators with the chance to observe the crucial details and use the most recent AI analytic software on high-quality video material. This can considerably raise the likelihood that an investigation will be successful.

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4. Detail loss between frames

Investigators frequently come across antiquated camera system records that are unusable owing to low frame rates. Even with the most recent network cameras, where picture rates can reach 60 frames per second (fps), the issue can come up again when installers or users decide to lower the frame rate in order to conserve bandwidth or storage.

Even in this case, we must consider the scene we are trying to find. For instance, a system monitoring a sizable public space will only need the same level of identifying accuracy as a system that reads licence plates on cars or counts money. It will be exceedingly challenging to spot a moving car in a scenario when a 4K camera is recording highly detailed video at only five fps. As expressed, the picture frequency must be at least 25 fps if you want to identify moving cars and must always stay below 15 fps if you're going to use the video for identification reasons.

5. White ghosts or black silhouettes

The camera's technological progress allows it to function well in difficult lighting situations. For instance, Axis WDR delivers the complete possible dynamic contrast, which is also appropriate for forensic evidence. However, several fundamental rules must be followed while installing cameras: if feasible, strong light sources should not be positioned in front of the camera, and the scene should be lit as evenly as possible. Make sure that installation does not cause the location to be disturbed by external lights or time-controlled lighting.

Ensure the camera can handle varied lighting conditions throughout the day before using it because an object can only be recognised when its brightness differs from the background. Another unique situation is IR lighting. Here, it's crucial to find an appropriate location for the lighting based on the distance between the items being watched and to consider the possibility that the temperature may affect how the colour spectrum appears.

Infrared Lighting

This camera wasn't tested at night. Before and after turning on the IR illumination, the intruder at the door is invisible.

So, with these challenges of CCTV use, one can understand why upgrading the system is essential; for that, experts need to come forward and help scholars. However, with our assignment help policy, you can learn the technology and all the practical knowledge of forensic assignment writing.

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