Friday, October 05, 2007

More CCTV cameras does not mean more crimes solved

Dee Doocey has had some great coverage for her research on the number of CCTV cameras that each London boroughs has and the percentage of its crimes that are solved.

Here is an example from ComputerworldUK:
The city has over 10,000 publicly funded CCTV cameras in public areas, but only one in five crimes are solved, said Dee Doocey, a spokeswoman for the Liberal Democrats political party on the London Assembly, the elected body which determines transport and policing policy for London's 32 boroughs and the City of London itself.

Using figures obtained from the London boroughs, the Metropolitan Police Service and public transport authorities through Freedom of Information Act requests, the Liberal Democrats compared the number of crimes solved in each borough with the number of CCTV cameras installed there.

"Our figures show that there is no link between a high number of CCTV cameras and a better crime clear-up rate," she said. "Boroughs with thousands of CCTV cameras are no better at doing so than those which have a few dozen."
It won't stop Liberal Democrat councillors elsewhere demanding the installation of more cameras, but it is useful to have their limitations spelt out so clearly.

3 comments:

Alex said...

The trouble I have with this is that CCTV is often promoted as a deterant, and crime clean-up rates don't show how effective they are in that respect. I suspect they're not particuarly ,but these figures would be true even if CCTV cameras had led to half the number of crime in the area. I need to know comparative total crime rates to make an informed judgement.

Tim Hicks said...

I think this is what Alex means, but it would seem plausible to suggest that a high number of cameras in an area is the result of a high crime rate. If cameras are unable to solve all crimes, this would seem to bias the analysis you cite against finding a positive effect from them.

(I write as no particular friend of CCTV cameras, btw.)

Robert said...

This is nothing new, there have been several Home Office studies which already prove the ineffectiveness in CCTV.

I strongly recommend the documentary EVERY STEP YOU TAKE for a critical an in-depth approach to CCTV in Britain. I heard it will be on air in UK soon, and also released on DVD. I’ve seen the film at Cambridge Film Festival this year and was impressed that a foreigner (Austrian-born director Nino Leitner) was able to pull off an extremely informative documentary about such a uniquely British topic.

Check out the trailer, and you’ll see what I mean:
http://www.EveryStepYouTake.org