Surveillance video may not prevent crime, but it’s critical in prosecuting perpetrators

Your Money Matters

Most of the businesses damaged in Sioux Falls Sunday night are right around the 41st Street and Louise Avenue intersection near the Empire Mall, but the theft and vandalism spread all over the city.

From stolen guns at Fleet Farm on Benson Road, to broken windows, stolen merchandise and shell casings found at Wireless World and Haegle’s Western Wear near 41st and Kiwanis Avenue, many businesses all over town were affected.

Closer to 41st and Louise, Walgreens and Starbucks had windows and doors broken out. Rudolph’s Shoe Store, Liberty National Bank and the Empire Mall also had broken windows and exterior damage. And that’s just the beginning.

Halberstadts had an estimated $8,000 in damage and stolen items, Chico’s lost $10,000 and there was approximately $45,000 of damage and stolen merchandise at Riddles Jewelry Store.

“The hard thing is to know where it’s going to happen. I don’t think anybody yesterday could have predicted where this crowd was going to go,” Sioux Falls Police Officer Sam Clemens said.

Sioux Falls Police were tracking the movement of the large crowd with drones and other security camera footage around town, but police say preventing the damage was impossible.

“I don’t know how to tell people how to look out for their business or protect their business, because we can’t tell what areas could be affected,” Officer Clemens said.

“The alarms themselves, I don’t know that they were going to do much to stop what happened, but surveillance can help to go back and look to see if you can get some pictures of the people who did the work,” Jon Schafer with Midwest Alarm said.

While the usual methods to prevent theft do little to prevent a mob attack, security experts say video surveillance is useful.

“It’s not going to prevent crime, but its going to help find those who are responsible for committing that crime,” Officer Clemens said.

“If the cameras are placed properly and the lighting is good, we do get some proper identifications,” Schafer said.

Schafer says the number of cameras in the Sioux Falls community continues to grow each day, providing better protection for everyone.

“A lot of these businesses have video, that coupled with the patrol cars, traffic cams, other businesses exterior cameras, there’s going to be a lot of video out there to comb through,” Officer Clemens said.

If you have any video of vandalism or theft taking place, you can send it to investigators anonymously through CrimeStoppers to help the city prosecute those responsible for last night’s damage.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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