Images like the ones from Wisconsin showing a foster mother beating two small children are hard to watch, but it's proof that the presence of hidden surveillance can help bring criminals to justice.
A wireless camera was broadcasting the crime to neighbors. One man happened to catch the scenes on his home TV and reported the crime to police.
"With the footage we receive, sometimes you're not able to immediately identify the person, but his mannerisms, perhaps a piece of clothing, that's just another tool in solving the case," says Sergeant Felicia Glick with the Rockingham County Crime Prevention Office.
Some may frown at the growing presence of cameras and other devices recording our lives, but they're proving to be a powerful tool for law enforcement.
"We do look for surveillance cameras when we go to a crime scene, just to see what is available and sometimes these do capture and the suspect has no idea that they've been captured on the camera," says Glick.
"With some people, they feel like they're being violated but I think it helps us in a lot of ways," says Darren Warble, who sells cameras for Hawk Security Systems here in the Valley.
"I've had a distributor that was losing cases of steak and shrimp. We placed a camera in there after hours and was able to catch an employee that was actually a manager," says Warble.
Warble says he's helped everyone from churches to the local media catch criminals in the act, and sometimes help families gain peace of mind.
"We put in what looked like a VCR in the house with a camera built in to the VCR and was able to ease their mind that the child was being treated properly" says Warble.