Shooting caught on video in South Philadelphia

August 29, 2012 8:37:00 PM PDT
Police are on the hunt for suspects after a shooting that was caught in full view of a surveillance camera in South Philadelphia.

VIDEO: Watch the video on the Philadelphia Police YouTube Channel

It was around 2:50 a.m. Friday when police in the area of Norwood and McKean streets heard several gunshots.

As they patrolled the area, they found a man running from the scene. The officers followed him to the 1800 block of McKean where they discovered he had a graze wound to his right shoulder.

As the investigation began officers recovered surveillance video, which was released on Wednesday morning.

In the video, the victim can be seen walking when a silver SUV pulls up. Someone inside the vehicle fires shots at the victim, who begins to run away.

That's when a man gets out of the passenger side of the SUV and, in full view of a surveillance camera, fires several more shots before the SUV is driven away.

It is becoming increasingly common for police to get video evidence to help them in their fight against crime.

Nothing can take the place of good solid detective work when it comes to solving crime, but the growing population of surveillance and cell phone cameras is changing the landscape of law enforcement in solving crimes across the country.

In the movie 'Enemy of the State', the surveillance camera is epitomized as a witness to all things good and evil. In the city of Philadelphia, that is becoming increasingly true.

"Almost every day, there are more cases coming to our office where there is surveillance tape that shows crimes, and not necessarily taking place in that store, but catches something that happen right outside," explained Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams.

In some of the more recent cases, surveillance footage helped police identify the alleged killers of Officer Moses Walker, led to the capture of the man who allegedly tried to kidnap a 10-year-old girl just a few weeks ago, and helped lead police to the conviction of a Philadelphia police officer captured on tape stealing money from a safe inside Pat's caf? in Frankford.

"It helps tremendously in the prosecution of crimes because pictures speak 1000 words," Williams said.

Williams says relying solely on witnesses can sometimes prove difficult because they are not always able to remember details that could help solve a crime.

But critics say all these surveillance cameras conjures up images of George Orwell's 1984, a novel about a totalitarian state presided over by an all-seeing big brother.

On the other hand, Williams argues that it could help the innocent.

"It's very important because sometimes it's used as evidence to exonerate people, and of course that is equally as important; charging the right people," said Williams.

As the debate over surveillance camera's lingers, Williams shutters to think where they would be without footage that has helped them put an increasing number of criminals behind bars.

"There would be many more cases that would be unsolved if not for the fact that we have such great video now, and we have Hi-Definition cameras all over the city," he said.

Williams say he is doing all he can to support and encourage Mayor Michael Nutter to create tax incentives for businesses that invest surveillance cameras to keep them safe and to help keep the citizens of Philadelphia safe as well.

Police had no details on the identity of the suspects seen in the most recent surveillance, and would like the public's help.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Philadelphia Police at 215.686.TIPS (8477), text a tip to PPD TIP (773847) or through phillypolice.com.

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