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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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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.

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