How effective is CCTV?
CCTV is a staple of any security effort but how do we know if it’s really working? Well research in recent years around the world is starting to give us a better picture of how and why CCTV works and how we can make the most of it to prevent crime.
So what do we know?
- CCTV fulfils one of its primary purposes as an effective deterrent to crimes such as burglary and vandalism in areas where CCTV has been extensively implemented.
- As might be expected this is due to the greater likelihood of the criminal being caught either at the scene if footage is monitored in real time or at a later date when the footage is reviewed.
- The use of surveillance is less effective against so called victimless crimes i.e. drug taking, prostitution and other crimes only witnessed by consenting adults. The theory that might explain why CCTV is less effective against this sort of crime is that where there are no victims these crimes often go unprosecuted. What’s more those involved are less likely to be concerned with the repercussions of their crimes.
- CCTV is most effective at deterring crimes that take longer to commit. If the criminal(s) is/are aware that they may be seen and thus detained at the scene they are less likely to begin a lengthy break-in. However snatch and grab crime might appear more achievable to the burglar especially is they believe they won’t be found later.
- CCTV can greatly assist in finding criminals after they’ve fled.
- The presence of CCTV shortens the response time of police. This is because by alerting them of the crime while it’s in progress they are much keener to arrive quickly in the hope of catching the criminal on site.
- The use of an audible alarm in conjunction with CCTV makes them less effective at assisting capture of the burglar. Despite the alarm possibly preventing theft of additional items it effectively warns the burglar to leave quickly decreasing the chance of apprehending them at the scene of the crime.
- Studies have also shown that more cautious people stay close to areas with CCTV surveillance. Criminals have noticed this too and are less inclined to attempt to rob someone they know to be more aware and vigilant.
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