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Airport Assault Caught on Camera

DENVER -- An alleged sexual assault at Denver International Airport may have been captured by surveillance cameras.

7NEWS has confirmed with a DIA spokeswoman that the airport has turned over surveillance video from Concourse A to Denver police.

A woman who missed her connecting flight on Monday night reported being sexually assaulted in the concourse.

Noel Alexander Bertrand, a former Marine, was arrested and charged with third-degree sexual assault. He's currently in jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

7NEWS went to the area of the concourse where the attack is reported to have occurred. We counted just fewer than a dozen cameras in the area. DIA spokeswoman Laura Coale told 7NEWS there are more than 1,000 cameras monitoring the airport.

What Do Airport's Surveillance Cameras See?

"Of the 1,000 some-odd cameras at DIA, what are they watching?" asked 7NEWS reporter Marshall Zelinger.

"The vast majority of cameras at any given airport are watching doors. If they're fixed-mounted cameras, they're staring at a door that accesses the airfield," said Metro State aviation professor Jeffrey Price.

When DIA opened, Price served as assistant security director.

"They're great at capturing an event for use after the event is over," said Price.

"That kind of is useless. I would think that someone would be watching at all times. Otherwise the crime happened already, and no one was there to help them," said traveler Robin DiTommaso.

On Monday night, the woman who said she was sexually assaulted told 7NEWS the attack went on for 10 minutes before help arrived. Two Frontier mechanics saw the attack from the tarmac and told 7NEWS they ran in and pulled a man off the woman. Two janitors who saw the attack inside called police, as they're trained to do.

Even though what happened may have been caught on camera, the cameras aren't necessarily set up to catch a crime as it occurs.

"They're really not set up to watch for everyday crime. They're really set up to watch terrorism. They're set up to watch for breaches of security. They're set up to watch for people going onto the airfield or getting onto an airplane," said Price. "Really, airport security is designed to prevent against terrorism against aircraft, not so much normal street crime."

"If there are people that are getting attacked or something inside an airport, it might not necessarily be at a door out at an exit," said DiTommaso.

Coale couldn't tell 7NEWS how many cameras are monitored at once, or how many people are watching the cameras at any given time. She said multiple employees outside of the communications center can monitor the video.

"Very, very few times will a camera capture something that happens to be occurring and somebody happens to be watching that camera," said Price.

More than 30,000 employees work at DIA. The population of the airport is considered to be the size of a small city.

"You have all the normal crimes you'd have in a city. You'd have theft. You do have assault, but not very often," said Price. "Normal crime takes place as well in the airport; theft, drug smuggling, human trafficking and assaults."

Coale said the cameras are in place for public safety and monitoring operations, including secured areas.

Article Source: ABC7 News

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