Columbia, SC (WLTX) - You've heard it said, "Big Brother" is always watching.
From the time you leave your home, chances are you have passed several surveillance cameras and with the improved technology, you can be spotted hundreds of feet away.
"We have noticed a definite change over the past decade or so," said Jennifer Timmons with the Columbia Police Department.
Surveillance video has come a long way--starting as from grainy looking video now it's crisp high quality video and its helping to put criminals in jail.
"That's one of the first things we ask for when conducting a criminal investigation and when the answer is yes it makes us relieved because that is such a vital tool to solving crimes in the city of Columbia," said Timmons.
Last week Columbia police say Lawrence Jordan robbed a bank downtown. He was caught on camera and it led to his arrest.
"The first thing that I saw when I saw the surveillance video was wow, look how good this picture is. It's as if the suspect was standing right in front of us and we snapped a picture of them."
"We have high definition cameras; you can be seen for blocks," said Carey Shealy with Statewide Security.
Shealy provides cameras for the Columbia Police Department and other agencies. This month his cameras have helped to solve 15 cases.
"It helps communities, it helps businesses and people will feel safer when they go shopping," said Shealy.
Timmons says any piece of video will help in some way.
"That's what we want, that extra piece of evidence, that extra technological tool to help us solve these crimes," said Timmons.
In efforts to keep crime down, Statewide Security and the city is installing even more security cameras that you can see throughout Columbia.