Bank robbery clearance rates improve along with camera quality

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Law enforcement started depending on surveillance cameras years ago. But lately, the clarity of the videos is helping the Federal Bureau of Investigations locate more bank robbers than not. The FBI currently has a clearance rate of 60 percent for bank robberies across the country.

"Technology has come a long way," explained FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeff Coburn.

Now, the FBI has the ability to recognize faces. Coburn said to do that though, the video has to be clear, and the face in the image has to be at least 15 percent of the picture.

"Just like a fingerprint can help identify a person, a face can identify a person. But it's a little different," Coburn explained. "A fingerprint can say 'this fingerprint belongs to this person.' Facial technology can get us a class, it can get us close."

The FBI reports about 5,000 bank robberies are reported to the bureau every year. To effectively catch a robber, banks need to invest in good cameras with clear images.

The cameras should also be set up at eye level.

"A camera that's at the top of the room may not be as good as something that's eye level. So you can capture the face," said Coburn.

And an owner should make sure the cameras aren't facing into natural light. Natural light behind a suspect will overexpose the image and make it useless.

"It is absolutely crucial to have good video or a good image and we use the local media often if we can get a good still image or a video."

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