A Digital Pile of Videos and Photographs

At the Boston Marathon, every surveillance and news camera, every cellphone and pocket point-and-shoot, became a witness to a crime. Some unwittingly observed the suspects preparing their attacks, others documented the two fatal blasts, and some captured the getaway. In the end, that evidence was instrumental in pinpointing the suspects that led to their capture on Friday.

When authorities made a public request for photos and videos from the Boston Marathon, the emerging scenario bore a close resemblance to the investigation following the use 2011 hockey riots in Vancouver, British Columbia. In that case, investigators collected more than 5,000 hours of video in more than 100 digital formats. To process the video, investigators utilized software from Ocean Systems that can optimize and tag the video. All of this helps tie together otherwise disparate images and form patterns that help point investigators in the right direction.

Click here to learn more for an Evidence Technology Magazine article about the technology used in the Vancouver riot case.

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Interview with an Expert

One of the more specialized areas of crime-scene investigation has to do with searching for evidence of arson. To get some background in this area, we spoke with an individual who has had more than 46 years in fire service, 24 of which have focused specifically on fire/arson investigation.