CCTVs in Crime Reduction and/or Prevention
I am of the opinion that CCTVs can help prevent crime. A mass surveillance initiative that entails a group of surveillance cameras in New York City has assisted in preventing homegrown and global terrorists, for instance al-Qaeda and its allies. A case in mind is the deployment of CCTVs in London, which did not only assist in determining the perpetrators of the bombings that took place, but also assisted in finding the suspects of an attempt that was not successful in bombing the transit system in London (Welsh & Farrington, 2009).
A study carried out in the United Kingdom indicated that the government found the CCTV strategy effective in handling problems of disorder and crime and contributing to the safety of the community. The Home Office conducted a number of assessments in finding out the use of CCTV surveillance as a measure of preventing crime between 1995 and 2005. The findings indicated that cameras offered a short-term deterrent. On the other hand, it reduced cases of property crime; the devices also enhanced a faster response on cases that would lessen the seriousness of threats (Stutzer & Zehnder, 2013). The availability of CCTV cameras made the public to feel much safer. After seven years, another report summarized the findings of several studies that were carried out in the U.S. and U.K. to find out the effectiveness of CCTVs in combating crime. The research indicated that CCTVs had little significance in preventing violent crime, but it played a vital role in reducing vehicle crimes, especially when used in car parks.
Furthermore, CCTVs help in deterring crimes through enhancing public safety. This is based on the fact that because of increased surveillance benefits that the devices provide, individuals use such areas frequently. This is specifically at night; there was increased activity in areas with CCTV surveillance.
The main empirical findings with regard to the impact of CCTVs can be summarized based on studies that were carried out in the United Kingdom and camera surveillance that was used in car parks in America (Stutzer & Zehnder, 2013). Most of the studies on CCTV assessments originate from the United Kingdom. Nearly all studies carried out in other areas like Scandinavia or the United States did not give a clear proof of a moderating impact on crime.
Additionally, the impact of CCTVs relies upon the kind of crime in question. By affecting the anticipated demands of criminal behavior for the criminal, electronic visual surveillance has been found to be very effective in preventing certain criminal behaviors, for instance, property offenses like shoplifting, car crime, and burglary. This explains why CCTVs are effective in car parks, rather than in other public places (Phillip, 1999). Furthermore, the manner in which CCTVs are operated and managed has an influence on their effectiveness. Factors like the type and number of cameras, control room operations, the area covered, formulated goals of the scheme, and ensuring that the police and other law enforcing agents take part play a significant role in CCTV effectiveness. The question that I would like classmates to respond to is, “What features should future research have in order to help in determining whether CCTV schemes are a success or failure?”
Welsh, B. C. & Farrington, D. P. (2009). Public Area CCTV and Crime Prevention: An updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Justice Quarterly, 26(4), 716-745.
Stutzer, A. & Zehnder, M. (2013). Is camera surveillance an effective measure of counterterrorism? Defense and Peace Economics, 24(1), 1-14.
Phillips, C. (1999). A review of CCTV Evaluations: Crime reduction effects and attitudes towards its use. Home Office Policing and Reducing Crime Unit. Crime Prevention Studies, 10, 123-155.