The Jamestown Police Department on Tuesday announced it is seeking public assistance to help identify a male suspected of larceny from JB Liquor on Foote Avenue.
It's not the first time a police agency is banking on outside help to solve a crime that would otherwise likely go unsolved.
And with the help of evolving surveillance equipment - which can produce a high-quality image to show unique facial features - law enforcement agencies are making the arrests.
The Jamestown Police Department is seeking assistance from anyone with information regarding the male in this surveillance shot, taken at JB Liquor on Foote Avenue.
"This particular suspect took only one item, a bottle of alcohol," said Lt. Paul Abbott, Jamestown Police Department detective, regarding Tuesday's larceny. "To be honest, if this image wasn't this good, we would have probably just closed the case."
Abbott pointed to at least a dozen cases within the last few years in which a crime, small or large, has been assisted or solved with decent surveillance footage and public help. The lieutenant would not elaborate on specific cases aided by advances in video quality, but he conceded the tale of the tape doesn't lie.
"These systems have become more affordable and the images have a better resolution," Abbott said. "It's great to be able to identify people in these situations. Otherwise we would have to close the case without an arrest."
Evidence of recent success was seen over the summer. In May, Jamestown police charged five Frewsburg teenagers with robbing a Hazeltine Avenue Wilson Farms. All four were charged with second-degree robbery, and police noted several tips from the public assisted in the arrest following the release of surveillance photos.
Police in August made an arrest after a 22-year-old male fired several shots out of a moving truck on Chandler Street in the city. Authorities immediately enlisted the help of the public to identify a Ford Explorer seen at the time of the shooting, which resulted in no injuries.
Abbott said as technology improves, he hopes would-be thieves think twice before committing a crime.
"My hope is that when these images come in clearly, it will serve more of a deterrence for those who might commit these crimes," he said. "Hopefully they realize their picture is being taken and that they could be recognized."
Business owners also are benefiting from better surveillance, many of which can recoup lost revenue from larcenies through the judicial system.
Heidi Pillittieri, owner of JB Liquor, said her security system - purchased locally when she obtained the liquor store three years ago - has helped catch those pilfering her shop.
"It's been great and every time we get an arrest," Pillittieri said. "Every time we put a picture in the paper, the police have made an arrest."
Once arrested, a clear surveillance image also helps in court proceedings.
"There is nothing stronger than a picture to put it altogether," Abbott said. "It just helps out close cases, and it's great when you can show the jury or the defense a clear picture."
As for Tuesday's Foote Avenue larceny, anyone with information is asked to contact the Jamestown Police Department by calling the command desk at 483-7537 or the department TIPS line at 483-TIPS.