backtop


Print 75 comment(s) - last by wordsworm.. on Sep 26 at 5:20 AM


CCTV image of a pickpocket  (Source: Evening Standard)
The use of CCTVs continues to be a hot political debate in the U.K.

The city of London has more than 10,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras deployed around the city, but the use of the controversial technology does not help solve crime, according to several local politicians.

All cameras installed in London cost taxpayers an estimated £200 million -- approximately $400M USD -- with politicians arguing the city has to re-evaluate the way they are used.  According to research provided by the British Liberal Democrats political party, the city districts with the most CCTV cameras also have the worst rates of solved crimes.

"Our figures show that there is no link between a high number of CCTV cameras and a better crime clear-up rate," said Dee Doocey, Liberal Democrats spokesperson.  "Boroughs with thousands of CCTV cameras are no better at doing so than those which have a few dozen."

Numbers provided by Doocey indicate only one in five crimes are solved in all London boroughs.

London's Scotland Yard is implementing several new procedures to try to improve the effectiveness of the 10,000 CCTVs in place in all 32 London boroughs.  

"Although CCTV has its place, it is not the only solution in preventing or detecting crime."

The United Kingdom currently leads the rest of Europe in number of CCTVs in use, with more than one million already in use.  The technology has drawn a lot of criticism from some politicians and privacy advocates in the U.K.

A quick Google News search for "CCTV" will indicate a number of British news stories that show how CCTV evidence is being used in criminal cases against suspects.  For example, CCTV several school children were caught brandishing an AK-47 on a train station platform.  The CCTV cameras also helped police identify London tube-train bombing suspects after the July 7, 2005 attack.


Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Flawed to the core
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 8:35:23 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
According to research provided by the British Liberal Democrats political party, the city districts with the most CCTV cameras also have the worst rates of solved crimes.
This 'study' is simply thinly-veiled propaganda by a political party attempting to generate ammunition for their cause. Taken at face value, one would have to conclude that CCTV cameras *increase* the rate of unsolved crimes....a conclusion that's patently nonsense.

The proper conclusion from these figures is that "areas with high unsolved crime rates attract CCTVs", not the other way around. Police choose these already-problematic areas to install cameras. Of course they're going to see a positive correlation...they simply have the cause and effect reversed.

A much more accurate study would have been to compare the unsolved crime rate (and the crime rate in general) in before-and-after version of the same area.




RE: Flawed to the core
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2007 8:37:43 AM , Rating: 1
Yes but we live in an age where studies say microwave popcorn is now dangerous for your health. So does this really surprise you?


RE: Flawed to the core
By Delegator on 9/24/2007 8:45:12 AM , Rating: 2
A much more accurate study would have been to compare the unsolved crime rate (and the crime rate in general) in before-and-after version of the same area.

You are very right about that. Looking at the article linked from the story here, it looks like they are comparing crime resolution rates across districts, not over time in each district. That indicates a flawed study at best -- not much of a "study" at all.


RE: Flawed to the core
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 10:02:51 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes but we live in an age where studies say microwave popcorn is now dangerous for your health.

True, and we stopped letting our kids have microwave popcorn because of that. Why do these substances have to be in our food anyway - isn't anybody else kind of irked about that sort of thing?


RE: Flawed to the core
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 10:13:59 AM , Rating: 2
> "Why do these substances have to be in our food anyway "

"Food" is nothing but a random mix of countless different chemicals. Take out the chemicals, and you don't have anything left.

In the particular case of microwave popcorn, the chemical in question is one found naturally in some foods anyway. Is it dangerous? In extremely high doses, probably so-- like every other natural or synthetic chemical found under the sun.

BTW, unless I missed it, no study has ever linked harmful effects to the levels any microwave popcorn consumer is likely to be exposed to.


RE: Flawed to the core
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 10:24:57 AM , Rating: 2
Good point, but we decided to avoid it anyway for the kids and see how the research plays out. We just bought a popcorn popper and make it using the old-school method.


RE: Flawed to the core
By Spivonious on 9/24/2007 10:39:26 AM , Rating: 2
It's only dangerous to the guy who made 5 bags a day for two years and deeply inhaled the smell immediately after opening them. And of course to the workers who test the smell, but they already knew that.


RE: Flawed to the core
By DeepBlue1975 on 9/24/2007 10:29:33 AM , Rating: 2
You are so right about that.
But the worst part is that studies with such misleading conclusions seem to be a big trend today:

- Video games makes people epileptic
- Video games raise serial killers
- The overall world warmth is inversely proportional to the number of pirate ships in the sea

and crap like that which keep flooding the media.

It's so frequent by these days seeing catalyzing factors and side effects getting confused with causes that something like what you quoted is not surprising at all.

The problem are not the statistics, but how statistics are being read. I guess people behind those "serious studies" should take an intensive lesson in statistical analysis, and a bit of logic reasoning would be nice, too.


RE: Flawed to the core
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2007 11:13:31 AM , Rating: 2
Yar....we be spraying old hair spray cans into the air for fun....


RE: Flawed to the core
By crystal clear on 9/24/2007 10:49:39 AM , Rating: 3
The right attitude would be to carry out a study -

How to effectively manage a network of CCTVs to obtain maximum results.

How to optimize the use of these cameras & exploit their full potentials.

To review techniques currently used & explore new ones.



Statistical data/study does not help the cause.

Postive attitudes & fresh ideas are needed


RE: Flawed to the core
By clovell on 9/24/2007 11:51:12 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Taken at face value, one would have to conclude that CCTV cameras *increase* the rate of unsolved crimes....a conclusion that's patently nonsense.

No, that's not right. If there was a statistically significant link that showed that CCTV cameras increased crime, it'd be stated in the article and would be sung from the mountaintops by the opposing political party.

Taken at face value, one would have to conclude from this study exactly what it says (if we were able to read it, and not some reportor's account of it) - that there is no difference in the rate of solved cases between areas with CCTV cameras and those without them.

I agree with your critique of their design, though - before and after was my initial thought as well.


RE: Flawed to the core
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 12:18:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Taken at face value, one would have to conclude ... that there is no difference in the rate of solved cases between areas with CCTV cameras and those without them.
Oops, but there *was* a difference in rates. The areas without cameras had a higher rate than those without.

Taken at face value, one has to conclude something obviously false-- that cameras increase crime. So the propagandists don't try that...they do a little song-and-dance shuffle, hoping you won't notice.

The truth is that face-value conclusion IS accurate; it merely has cause and effect reversed. High-crime areas attract CCTV cameras. Cameras don't increase crime.


RE: Flawed to the core
By clovell on 9/24/2007 3:25:43 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oops, but there *was* a difference in rates.
In some places. The article doesn't go into much depth.
quote:
The areas without cameras had a higher rate than those without.
Some of them did. The article does not address all areas.

quote:
Taken at face value, one has to conclude something obviously false-- that cameras increase crime.
That may be what the article would lead you to believe, but certainly not the data. Analysis of the data showed
quote:
... that police are no more likely to catch offenders in areas with hundreds of cameras than in those with hardly any.
- It did not show that CCTV cameras increased crime.
quote:
The truth is that face-value conclusion IS accurate; it merely has cause and effect reversed. High-crime areas attract CCTV cameras. Cameras don't increase crime.
I agree, and would add that to claim a time-dependent difference (increase/decrease), you need more than a single time point in your data.

Taking the article at face value, I can see how you'd get to those conclusions - the data it presented were most likely cherry-picked. It seems the study, though, doesn't make the connection.


"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings











botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki