- Cameras increase the likelihood of detection and apprehension,
- Video surveillance prevents all types of crimes,
- Monitoring techniques, passive tours versus active, on-the-spot monitoring, have a positive impact on the likelihood of detection,
- In the cities of Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, D.C., targeted for the study, there was a distinct downward trend of crimes after camera implementation (averaging 30 percent),
- In all areas, there was no evidence of displacement—a phenomenon whereby the placement of cameras causes crime to move out to surrounding areas.
- Cameras can be expensive, but there are averted victimization cost benefits of millions of dollars.
"Cameras are not a substitute for line officers however," she said. "Cameras have to be combined with other proactive law enforcement activities, but we have to make sure cameras go where there is a history of crime anyway."
More information on the three public surveillance reports can be found online at urban.org by searching public surveillance. On the site there's a summary guidebook for jurisdictions on considerations for implementing citywide surveillance systems ("Using Public Surveillance Systems for Crime Control and Prevention: A Practical Guide for Law Enforcement and Their Municipal Partners," http://www.urban.org/publications/412402.html.)
Green Lantern swoops in
In a light-hearted start to his session, "Legal Issues in Video Surveillance," Alan Wohlstetter, chair of the Infrastructure Practice Group for Fox Rothschild LLP donned a Green Lantern costume and rushed boldly into the room to start his session with the caveat that "Even super heroes need a video surveillance network."
Wohlstetter talked about legal issues important to video surveillance, and said that today video is ubiquitous and everywhere and as such, privacy is no longer as much as a consideration as it was in the past. "Video surveillance is the world in which we live in today. It's everywhere, so you can't reasonably expect privacy," he said.
He also said that video can be shared as long as the surveillance is used for the purpose with which it was gathered.
Chicago Police Department Sergeant Patrick O'Donnell gave highlights and insights into the city's successful video surveillance network. Photo: Deborah L. O'Mara