Back when surveillance cameras were new to the business world, their images were black and white, grainy and recorded on videotape.

Now, technology allows law enforcement to not only get a close-up look at folks committing crimes, but to share those images with a vast audience.

It's a valuable tool for law enforcement, according to Nicole Wagner Hodskins, who has been with the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office for nearly 20 years. That, coupled with the wide and rapid reach of social media, has been a game-changer.

"It's been a huge success anytime I have a visual aid," she said. "It serves as a deterrent. People realize (a home or business) has good cameras, so it's not the best place to shoplift or burglarize."

"Once I share something, I almost immediately start getting tips," she said. "When you put something on social media, it can reach nationwide."

Now Hodskins is hoping the public will help identify a woman caught on camera Oct. 8 at Sephora's at Destin Commons. In the video, which is the clearest Hodskins has ever seen, the woman is putting things in a Victoria's Secret bag as she moves around the store.

"She actually moved a gentleman out of the way to steal something off a kiosk," Hodskins said. "It's very clear. You can see that star tattoo on her shoulder."

Larry Harris, who owns Okaloosa-Walton Security and Surveillance, said that while cameras were once common only in banks, jewelry stores and convenience stores, now many homeowners have them as well.

The cameras give businesses and individuals the ability to document an incident with a date and a time, and help to establish the identity of the folks captured on camera.

New surveillance systems even allow folks to watch their homes and businesses remotely, with some sending alerts when unexpected movement is detected.

Harris, who has been in the business his entire life, said he's aware that systems like the ones his company installs are a boon for law enforcement.

"Even if something happens down the street, they can take video from a customer who may have caught video going in the right direction," he said.