Print 21 comment(s) - last by bh192012.. on Dec 29 at 3:07 PM

CCTV camera in front of Big Ben  (Source: BBC News)
System has over 59,000 cameras, solves six crimes per day

Citizens in London are used to the cameras that adorn street corners and other locations around the historic metropolitan area. The cameras are used to monitor citizens and help the police in London to solve crime as well. The cameras are very effective at solving crimes according to the London Metropolitan Police (Met).

BBC News reports that Det. Ch. Insp. Mick Neville, the head of the Met, said that the images the camera captured are treated like fingerprints and DNA evidence. According to the Met, in 2010 the number of suspects that were identified by the camera system went up to 2,512 in 2010 compared to 1,970 identified in 2009.

The increase in the number of suspects identified may have to do with the increasing number of cameras in the city. In 1999, London had a CCTV system with 21,000 cameras installed. However, in 2010, the CCTV system has a total of 59,753 cameras. The Met also says that of all the 2,512 suspects that were caught this year using the camera system, many of them were violent offenders.

According to police, out of that roughly 2,500 captures, four of the suspects were wanted for suspected murder, 23 of them were rapists or sex offenders, and five were described as wanted gunmen.

Neville did say that the modernization and growing complexity of the CCTV system in London had raised some issues though. The system moved from VHS tapes to digital video storage. With the move, getting the captured video takes a specialized officer and takes longer than retrieval did in the VHS days. The Met officer also says that the digital video isn’t kept as long as tapes were.

Neville said, "We get high-quality images that are easily searchable but they are often not held as long. With VHS, people held 31 tapes, one for each day of the month, and it did not require specialist officers to get hold of the stuff. People are now being confronted by computers and hard drives and told to get those images and it is not as easy."

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By aebiv on 12/28/2010 1:14:18 PM , Rating: 2
Bah, who needs privacy! I'm sure this system will never be used for evil.

I'm interested in the cost of the system figured per crime too...

RE: Privacy
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/28/2010 2:26:08 PM , Rating: 3
It has been long held that a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in their likeness, or in their vehicle properties when they are in public - such as walking on the street, or driving. If that were the case, then a hit and run driver could contest the admission of the color, make and model of their car into evidence. Or contest an artist's rendering of them - or a victim's description of them. So no recognized privacy rights are violated by the use of these cameras. In fact, they are more reliable than human witnesses.

The use of enhanced observational equipment, such as someone using binoculars, are only proscribed when they are used to peer into a person's house. Arguably, if you can been seen through a window, then you are in "public" view. But if you can only be seen from a rooftop using binoculars, then that evidence is generally not admissible. I think it is a little late to make a privacy argument against these cameras.

RE: Privacy
By morphologia on 12/28/2010 3:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
Anything can be used for evil, that doesn't make it evil in itself. You could kill someone with a car, or a hammer, or a ballpoint pen, but it's much less of a hassle to just use them for their intended purposes. Likewise, this CCTV system makes crime-fighting much more efficient. More so than having cops stationed on every block of every street, or perhaps perched on rooftops. How much do you think that would cost??

For every self-righteous privacy fanatic worried about ending up in V for Vendetta, there's probably a dozen criminals hoping their acts are not observed. I think it's worth compromising one's "privacy" in public places (a farcical concept anyway) to help catch murderers and rapists before they can melt into the faceless crowd and avoid capture...which would doubtless result in complaints that the cops aren't "doing enough".

These CCTV cameras? That's the cops' way of "doing enough" to fight crime.

RE: Privacy
By Philippine Mango on 12/28/2010 5:07:32 PM , Rating: 4
You've obviously never heard of the adage, "Absolute power corrupts absolute".

RE: Privacy
By JakLee on 12/28/2010 5:37:02 PM , Rating: 1
You've obviously never heard of the adage, "Absolute power corrupts absolute".

No, but I have heard of something similar - "absolute power corrupts absolutely"
I think that was Dr X talking about Dark Pheonix....

RE: Privacy
By FaaR on 12/29/2010 11:56:49 AM , Rating: 1
"I think it's worth compromising one's "privacy" in public places (a farcical concept anyway) to help catch murderers and rapists before they can melt into the faceless crowd and avoid capture..."

Yeah, but how many murderers and rapists did these ALMOST 60 *THOUSAND* cameras catch??? Not very bloody many I'm sure you'll agree!

I clicked on this article after seeing the blurb on Anandtech, thinking the camera system probably caught about as many criminals as it had cameras installed, and thought that was a pretty bad and cost-ineffective ratio, considering it wasn't over the course of a month, or a quarter, but a FULL YEAR.

Imagine my surprise when I read the full piece and find out the criminal to camera ratio is no more than about 0.04:1! Over an entire year!!!

That's pretty fucking atrocious. The brits ought to be livid, and scrap this horrible money-wasting system immediately. I don't see how anyone could argue that this is anything but a device to snoop on people's movements and interactions.

It's certainly NOT intended primarily to catch criminals, or it'd do a better job at it.

What's the cost of these cameras?
By WalksTheWalk on 12/28/2010 1:14:14 PM , Rating: 2
According to these numbers it takes 23.75 cameras to catch one wrongdoer. In most cases the offense is a misdemeanor so it's more like ~1000 cameras to capture one felon. In 2009 it was reported that it took 1,000 cameras and cost ~$35,000 US to catch one felon via CCTV.

RE: What's the cost of these cameras?
By bug77 on 12/28/2010 1:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
If you could add face recognition to the system, the number of caught suspects will increase dramatically. Or the costs will decrease. But you can't do it all at once.

By morphologia on 12/28/2010 3:26:13 PM , Rating: 3
Divide that sum by the total number of felons caught and it looks more reasonable...especially compared to replacing all those cameras with people. Cameras don't need medical, dental, and paid holiday.

RE: What's the cost of these cameras?
By bh192012 on 12/29/2010 2:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but 1,000 cameras cost a hell of a lot more than 35,000$

By bh192012 on 12/29/2010 3:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
Those cameras most likely cost over (probably way over) 1,000$ each to buy and maintain and will last 5 years. 60,000 * 1,000$ = maybe (200?) cops funded for 5 years.

Lets see, those cameras nabbed 2500 suspects. Could 200 cops beat that over the course of a year. I'm pretty sure the average cop nets over 12 suspects a year. Plus they can help old ladies cross the street, actually cuff criminals etc.

Also finds lost old people
By nafhan on 12/28/2010 1:03:40 PM , Rating: 2
Did anyone else see the article on the old man who got disoriented and drove around in circles for two days? The CCTV's helped find him.

RE: Also finds lost old people
By erple2 on 12/28/2010 1:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if the gentleman in question ever stopped to ask directions?

RE: Also finds lost old people
By morphologia on 12/28/2010 3:23:17 PM , Rating: 3
Doesn't sound like it, reading the article. But, though it sounds like a stereotype, I can say that if there's anyone that would rather drive around lost for days than shame themselves by asking for directions, that person is probably male and probably over 60 years old.

This is great!
By 91TTZ on 12/28/10, Rating: -1
RE: This is great!
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 12/28/2010 2:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
No privacy rights were trampled here. But suppose the evil-doers had done some violent crime to you or a family member? I think the people of England have made that value judgment and seem to be happy with it.

RE: This is great!
By 91TTZ on 12/28/2010 2:43:37 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really think they're happy about it, they just can't organize well enough to stop it.

Look at the USA, there are plenty of issues that most Americans disagree with, but they're not able to gain enough political traction to change things.

RE: This is great!
By jabber on 12/29/2010 7:57:06 AM , Rating: 2
Look at the USA, there are plenty of issues that most Americans disagree with, but they're not able to gain enough political traction to change things.

Ahh you mean UK politicians cant be bought as easy as US ones?

I look forward to the day when the outraged citizens of the USA get angry enough to rise up and take their guns down from over the fireplace and take control as supposedly is their right.

The reality I feel, would be more like below -

"I'm outraged, we need to start a militia! But maybe after X Factor has finished and I did order a pizza only ten minutes know what...maybe tormorrow?"

(Sarcasm intended throughout.)

RE: This is great!
By morphologia on 12/28/2010 3:15:16 PM , Rating: 2
How much privacy can a sane person - by which I mean someone who isn't using aluminum foil to protect their thoughts from the Illuminati - expect to have in public?? You might as well say that a cop glancing at you on the street is an invasion of your privacy.

RE: This is great!
By BladeVenom on 12/28/2010 4:05:43 PM , Rating: 5
Try filming a cop in public.

RE: This is great!
By Souka on 12/28/2010 4:09:01 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder how my voyeur-porn is generated by all these cams?

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