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A Modern Detective Story:
Police Nab Moving Shooter with Security System That Moves Fast, too.
Most people, including criminals, are accustomed to thinking of security systems, such as video cameras, as being stationary. Thanks to resourceful Bay Area police, a drive-by shooter who kept moving his location recently discovered that perception is no longer necessarily true.
In June of 2016, detectives from San Francisco’s Bay Area Police Department were dealing with five drive-by shootings but had no suspects. The shooter would target the drivers hitting several doors of moving vehicles. Based on the location of the shell casings, the culprit was using a pistol and his shots were dangerously accurate. As a result, the detectives felt it was just a matter of time before he would cause a serious injury or a fatality.
They could tell by the pattern of the shootings that the suspect was very likely the same person, but he had proved elusive. The evidence indicated that the shooter had initially acted while on foot but had transitioned to a vehicle and was now operating in an enlarged area with a radius of approximately 10 square miles.
After 10 shootings, not a single witness was able to identify the shooter or his vehicle. Security systems had failed to locate him, too. The security units in the Bay Area were, like most of today’s systems, hard-wired to the electrical grid and couldn’t be moved to cover a larger or, more specifically, a ‘different’ area.
Feeling a sense of urgency to identify and nab the suspect, the Bay Area detectives decided to test a security company with a different kind of security system. The name of the leading-edge company they reached out to for assistance is V5 Systems, located in Fremont, California.
Their innovative security system wasn’t stationary. It was self-powered and, therefore, completely portable and rapidly deployable. The revolutionary technology was equipped with more than a video camera, too. It also featured auditory gunshot detection and could instantly relay all the information to the police – in real time.
There are other security systems that are mobile, but they are huge and powered by several heavy 12V lead-acid batteries and large solar panels, so they require a trailer to move them from one location to another. The portable system the Bay Area police called in can fit in your hands (24” long), weighs only 25 pounds, and can be deployed by an experienced person in approximately 30 minutes.
V5 Systems sent their resident criminal expert, a retired homicide detective, to collaborate with the Bay Area detectives and devise a security system that could identify the culprit.
Working with the police, the expert devised a custom solution designed to capture the shooter as quickly as possible. To implement it, V5 Systems quickly installed, not just one, but six Portable Security Units (PSUs) in different locations where previous shootings had occurred. All six of the V5 PSUs featured an HD video camera and gunshot detection. In addition, the units could relay live video and activity they captured directly to any smart device, even a smartphone, an advanced feature that insured the police would be able to respond to developments in real time.
As Mazin Bedwan, President of V5 Systems, commented, “Our innovative technology has provided law enforcement and security personnel an invaluable resource that is just as mobile as the crimes and criminals they are pursuing. As security threats trend from one location to another, our Portable Security Unit is wireless and can be deployed and then redeployed in any outdoor environment as needed.”
After the first deployment of the PSUs, the culprit continued to move, unaware that the police were able to move the Portable Security Units right along the path he was moving, tightening the net on him.
Then the breakthrough came. A V5 Systems video sensor captured an image of the suspect’s vehicle moments before he perpetrated one of the shootings. Even though it was at night, the video sensor was able to discern very specific characteristics of the suspect’s vehicle, and the gunshot location and detection capability of the V5 Systems unit then captured the actual drive-by shooting as an audio clip.
Based on the HD video of the suspect’s vehicle, the Patrol Division of the police department spotted a similar vehicle a few days later. No doubt surprised by the approach of the police, the suspect attempted to flee in his vehicle, but he crashed it and was captured.
The modern combination of dedicated detectives and V5 System’s rapidly deployable Portable Security Units had prevented the serious injury or death of innocent civilians.
The suspect is now facing 10 counts of attempted murder.
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