[Editor's note: John Honovich publishes this and other information on network video at IPVideoMarket.info.]
While we continue to spend more on public CCTV systems, the debate on CCTV effectiveness has reached a polarizing and inconclusive standoff. On the one side, you have a number of studies and leading thinkers who cleary contend that CCTV systems are ineffective. On the other, you have numerous municipalities who are weekly green-lighting new CCTV projects.
This report offers key findings from the 20 top studies/articles in the field and offers practical recommendations on how to optimize the use of public CCTV systems.
A directory of the 20 top papers in the field are included at the end of this document. This report is based on those papers.
Key Findings Summary
- The expectation that CCTV systems should be deployed to reduce crime rather than solve crime has created huge problems.
- While the studies show serious doubt on CCTV's ability to reduce crime generally, a strong consensus exists in CCTV's ability to reduce premeditative/property crime
- CCTV is consistently treated as a singular, stable technology, obscuring radical technological changes that have occurred in the last 10 years
- Differences in per camera costs are largely ignored, preventing policy makers from finding ways to reduce costs
- Routine comparison of police vs cameras is counterproductive
Practical Recommendations Summary
- Stop claiming that CCTV can generally reduce crime
- Optimize future public CCTV projects around crime solving rather than crime reduction
- Optimize future public CCTV projects around material and premeditative crimes
- Target technologies that support crime solving and material/premeditative crimes
- Focus on minimizing cost per camera
Finding: Crime Reduction vs Crime Solving
Finding: Reducing Crime Generally vs Premeditative/Property Crime
Finding: CCTV as Singular, Stable Technology
UK Home Office Report of 2005
2005 UK Home Office Report
Finding: Differences in Per Camera Costs Largely Ignored
2005 UK Home Office study
Finding: Cops vs Cameras Comparison Counterproductive
Recommendation: Abandon emphasis on general crime reduction
Recommendation: Focus Projects on Crime Solving
Recommendation: Focus Projects on Material/Premeditative Crimes
Recommendation: Target Technologies that Support Crime Solving
Recommendation: Minimize Cost Per Camera
- Set the goals appropriately on tasks that can succeed: Crime Solving and Property Crime Reduction
- Select technologies such as IP and megapixel cameras that improve performance
- Ensure spending per camera is controlled and benefits from new technologies
With these practices, we can ensure both effective CCTV systems and a positive economic contribution to society.
Directory of CCTV Effectiveness Studies
The debate on the effectiveness of CCTV is amazingly complex. Dozens of studies done over more than a decade with frequently conflicting positions makes the situation hard to assess. This problem is magnified by the difficulty of finding reference material.
This directory provides a catalog of as many publicly available studies and reports I can find on the web.