It’s difficult to measure surveillance cameras’ effectiveness when so many factors can sway the results.
Many of us have seen so many cameras installed at strategic locations along our roads. Are we right to call them a waste of Tax Payers’ money? Should we be wary of their presence? In order to determine whether they are good or not, we must first understand how these devices work.
By the way, most cities worth calling cities have one for or the other of surveillance devices. These are installed in the public interest (they are there for the good of the public). Just imagine getting mugged by an overzealous character as you move from your car to the office or vice versa; assuming that, the guy has taken away with him, your cherished Laptop computer! Let’s further assume that, the laptop taken contains all your templates and documents that you have been working on for nearly a whole year.
Measuring how well police surveillance cameras prevent crime is a tricky process since you’re dealing with a vague set of variables.
You can’t be entirely sure if someone planning to commit a crime decided against it because of a police camera. Additional factors, such as the season, economy or other law enforcement tactics can also have influence.
Where such cameras exist, their recordings can be played back and the identity of the criminal got, then, the identity can be traced via all the cameras and in no time, the locations visited by the criminal got, this might lead to his accomplices and his eventual location.
In many countries, the authorities in charge of security have been installing all sorts of devices; among them are the networks of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Police monitor the video in an effort to prevent crime and catch lawbreakers in the act.
For example, a study of different CCTV effectiveness evaluations from various jurisdictions in Europe and North America by the Home Office Research Group in the United Kingdom eliminated 24 evaluations from its research pool because of faulty methods.
Law enforcement officials are usually the most positive about the crime cameras. Do cameras reduce crime? Many of us have seen police cameras posted on poles, cameras in supermarkets etc. But do these cameras really reduce crime?
Police Camera Privacy Concerns
The cost and questionable usefulness of CCTV add more fuel to fire for privacy advocates who believe they are borderline “Big Brother,” and invade people’s right to privacy. To fully understand this argument, let’s first look at how the police use the camera and the footage. Most police departments designate personnel to watch the footage live, and some departments watch footage as potential evidence after crimes are reported.
Skeptics worry that police act more like peeping toms, homing in on women and people minding their own business rather than criminals.
For that reason, certain cameras come equipped with special features that black out when focused above the second story of a building, for instance. Although a few instances of misuse of surveillance footage have taken place, it appears that most police view the video responsibly.
If they see a crime in action on camera, they can dispatch officers to the scene. Or if a crime is reported, they review footage for evidence.