Recommended reading: CCTV

By EDRi · March 10, 2005

Publication by the Development and Statistics Directorate of the English Home Office of the results of the first major research into the application of CCTV in the UK. The general conclusion about the effects on criminality is that camera surveillance is a powerful instrument, but it must be acknowledged camera’s are used in widely different contexts. It looks like a simple fix, but is much more complicated in reality.

“All the systems had the broad objective of reducing crime. Out of the 13 systems evaluated six showed a relatively substantial reduction in crime in the target area compared with the control area, but only two showed a statistically significant reduction relative to the control, and in one of these cases the change could be explained by the presence of confounding variables. Crime increased in seven areas but this could not be attributed to CCTV. The findings in these seven areas were inconclusive as a range of variables could account for the changes in crime levels, including fluctuations in crime rates caused by seasonal, divisional and national trends and additional initiatives.”

“Certain types of offence were affected more than others:
– Impulsive crimes (e.g. alcohol-related crimes) were less likely to be reduced than premeditated crime (e.g. theft of motor vehicles).
– Violence against the person rose and theft of motor vehicles fell in the target areas in accordance with national trends in recorded crime.”

Assessing the impact of CCTV (February 2005)
Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate