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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.


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RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Delegator on 9/24/2007 8:41:50 AM , Rating: 5
Well, that's a fundamental philosophical disagreement about the role of government. I personally believe that it is not good to have government doing things just because it can. It's wasteful and it opens up possibilities for both unintended consequences and abuse.

Take, for example, the EZ-Pass toll systems common in the eastern US. They're a wonderful technology and can help move traffic along. But, they can also be used to determine where a particular car traveled, and when. This might be useful in a criminal case, but now those records are being increasingly used in civil cases such as divorce proceedings. You may think that's good, but I personally do not. We have too long a history of government abuse of information for me to believe that it's better to have it and not use it -- it will always be used by somebody.


RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2007 8:48:34 AM , Rating: 1
So its not good that a cheating wife or husband is being caught in the act? Explain that to me please. And its bad that say the toll booths could be used to track a murderer or robber as he makes his getaway? Or to prove that a suspected murderer was not where he/she claimed to be?

The same could be said of credit cards since its quite easy to track a persons credit card usage. Are those evil too? And cell phones? How about them?


RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 9:11:47 AM , Rating: 5
> "So its not good that a cheating wife or husband is being caught in the act? "

I don't believe its a particularly good idea the government assist in catching people in acts that are legal, whether or not they're morally questionable.

Right now, EZ Pass is a voluntary system, so I don't see a problem with it monitoring motorists. But the DOT has big plans for it and, should electric cars become a reality, I can easily see it one day expanded to a nationwide system for collecting taxes on all major roads (since the gasoline tax would no longer exist).

If that happens, the system will be a de facto requirement for travel in the US, whether or not de jure participation is required.


RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Spivonious on 9/24/2007 9:45:45 AM , Rating: 2
And at that time, if you don't like it, you can either ride a bike, take the bus, walk, or move to another country. It's called freedom.

And about your conspiracy theory, the toll workers union would never let the state DOT get rid of their jobs.


By masher2 (blog) on 9/24/2007 10:01:57 AM , Rating: 5
Lol, how is expressing the possibility of nationwide expansion of a successful program a "conspiracy theory"? Britain has already mandated an EZ-pass like transponder in all registered vehicles. Do you honestly believe the US couldn't possibly ever institute a similar program?

By the way, technology has caused many thousands of unions to become defunct. Or have you seen any members of United Candle Dippers 104 lately?


RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Zoomer on 9/24/2007 4:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
Or buy a helicopter. No more lousy roads for ya!


RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By GaryJohnson on 9/24/2007 8:55:32 PM , Rating: 2
Those, and other aircraft, have flight data recorders right?


RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By wordsworm on 9/26/2007 5:20:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Those, and other aircraft, have flight data recorders right?
Don't airplanes and helicopters need to call in their estimated flights before they take off? Can you imagine a world where, before you go for a drive, you have to make a log entry?

I think it would be interesting if the average Joe had access to the same cameras. One could keep an eye on one's own children, not to mention spouse, to make sure they're not doing anything they shouldn't.

What they need to do is attach something to the camera, like a gun, so that they can shoot the criminals. It would save a lot of money: courts, prisons, and police, not to mention that reoffending would be impossible! Who collects the bodies? Easy! The bodies could be collected by the hospitals so that they can harvest the organs.

Woot! Sounds like a dystopia to me!


RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Lord 666 on 9/24/2007 9:20:47 PM , Rating: 2
A usage tax for interstates and parkways would be more fair for people who do not drive on them at all vs. gasoline tax.

However, EZ Pass could be expanded to GPS enabled transponders to calculate distance driven on non-toll roads and time spent in traffic to calculate actual taxation. This taxation could then tied into the yearly IRS filing for business mileage.


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