Three days after the Boston Marathon bombings, a security camera caught one of the suspects robbing a 7-11. Law enforcement recognized him from photos and videos released by the FBI yesterday. The identification led police to the manhunt now underway in the suburbs of Boston.
Law enforcement had terabytes of photos and videos related to the Boston Marathon bombing, NPR's Morning Edition reported, thanks to the increased presence of security cameras. Without computer help, it would take a person years to watch all the footage end to end.
The sleuthing that eventually ID's the two suspects, believed to be brothers from Chechnya, Russia, likely depended on some newer technology that helps human analysts with the time-consuming job of looking through all that camera footage.
Over the last few years, computer programs have emerged that is able to spot patterns in the same way a human can. The programs pull out only relevant video, leaving people with less to look through. "You can ask for things like, 'Show me all red cars that went east,'" Al Shipp, chief executive of a video surveillance software company called 3VR, told Morning Edition. Software is also able to look for things such as the black and white hats the suspects wore on the day of the bombing. Given high resolution video, 3VR software is able to identify footage of people of a particular gender and age.
In the future, surveillance cameras may have even greater abilities. One company, BRS Labs, is building a camera system that, after observing a place for some time, "learns" what's normal behavior for that place, Slate reported in a piece arguing for greater video surveillance. Then the camera can mark times when it sees people behaving unusually, such as loitering, leaving a package and walking away or jumping turnstiles. BRS Labs has signed a contract with the San Francisco public transportation system.
For now, however, it still takes plenty of manpower to catch a suspect from video footage. Automated identification, though a useful aid to speed up a search, doesn't always work, especially with lower resolution or chaotic footage.
This article originally said Al Shipp's name was "Alex Shipp." I apologize for the error.
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This doesn't explain why these two robbed a 7-11. They certainly acted casually enough to blend in with the crowd. They didn't attract any extra attention to themselves there they were acting like they weren't doing anything at all. Why would they go rob a store if they had just gotten away with bombing the marathon and the police had no suspects? Their actions don't make sense. I'm not saying that it takes a logical person to build and detonate a bomb, but i am saying if they had the mental fortitude to build a device that works, were able to plant and detonate said device, and finally leave the scene without anyone being aware of their identity then why would they go out and commit a crime on video? Obviously they didn't want to be caught by what ensued last night and today... so why would they take unnecessary risks?
@ shinigami ; I know exactly how you are thinking. Just does not make sense. Still, throwing explosives at officers is pretty damning evidence even if guns and knocking off a 7-11 aren't typical behavior for a terrorist bomber. My guess is that these two thought they had gotten away clean until that night when their photos went out, and further, that they made the classic mistake of thinking nothing was going to go wrong as well as the other classic mistakes of not being prepared to run their punk asses back to Chechnya and not figuring that we would run their punk asses to ground with a concerted effort.
When these two mutts were identified, they were called college students. Don't know bout you, but I'm damn glad they weren't in this country to actually get an education first. This could easily have been much worse if they knew what they were doing.