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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 Misty Dingos on 9/24/2007 9:38:05 AM , Rating: 2
Just a clarification here. If I were robbed at gunpoint the police will have to bring a body bag to the crime scene. I live in the USA and have CCW permit. A person that tries to rob me is taking very good chance at finding out what the inside of the morgue looks like. Unlike the UK the USA allows people to defend themselves. I can not think of a more basic human right than the right of self defense and it is amazing to me that an intelligent and thinking people would allow that right to be stripped from them.

Am I a raving looney about privacy? No. I just find that trying to justify an ever increasing governmental surveillance of private life unjustifiable. For any reason. Have the cameras in London helped solve some crimes, I am sure they have. Have they prevented any crimes, I am willing to bet not a one. Criminals are criminals because they break the law. Placing cameras in the public space only produces criminals concerned with covering their faces. Oh and public lulled into a false sense of security.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Spivonious on 9/24/2007 9:48:49 AM , Rating: 2
So if someone tried to pickpocket you, you'd kill them? That makes me scared to walk down the street. What if I bumped into in a way that made it seem like I was trying to rob you? "The police would have to bring a body bag."

Let the police do their job and stop being some sort of vigilante.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By TomZ on 9/24/2007 9:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously you have no experience with the police. The chances of them helping you out when you are being robbed is about 1 in 100000. They just show up later to write up the report.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By masher2 on 9/24/2007 10:18:38 AM , Rating: 4
Exactly. In many major cities, crimes like home burglary, auto theft, pickpocketing, etc, aren't even investigated unless there's a violence involved, or the victim knows the perpetrator personally and therefore gives the police an open-and-shut case.

By rdeegvainl on 9/24/2007 10:52:44 AM , Rating: 2
robbed at gunpoint and pickpocket are 2 completely different events, I don't understand how you confused them unless you did so deliberately to make the poster sound irrational.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By JustTom on 9/24/2007 11:12:19 AM , Rating: 1
If I were robbed at gunpoint the police will have to bring a body bag to the crime scene.

He said robbed at gunpoint, so unless you bump into him and wave a gun in his face you should be fine.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Spivonious on 9/24/2007 11:27:32 AM , Rating: 2
lol, yeah I missed that part. But that just makes it worse. The guy already has his gun out. You make a move for yours and you get shot in the head.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By rdeegvainl on 9/24/2007 11:53:11 AM , Rating: 3
or you make a move for your "wallet" like they ask.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By Spivonious on 9/24/2007 3:03:25 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think a handgun fits in my back pocket.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By masher2 on 9/24/2007 3:27:22 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I know someone who keeps a small 25 cal handgun inside his wallet. The wallet is even constructed so he's able to fire the gun without removing it.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By FITCamaro on 9/24/2007 11:10:03 AM , Rating: 2
While I agree in your right to defend yourself (I too would shoot the guy if I carried a gun) but very few people legally carry a concealed firearm. My point was a statement that represents the majority of the population.

And its not legal in every state to shoot the person robbing you. Yes its retarded, but its still fact. Liberals have the view that you shouldn't fight back against attackers. You know, because its not their fault they are the way they are.

Me personally, if I have a gun available and someone attacks me, I attack back until the clip is empty, they go down, or they run away (if they still can).

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By smitty3268 on 9/24/2007 11:42:08 AM , Rating: 2
I think it's morally right that if an attacker isn't threatening your life then you don't have any right to take theirs away. I don't think there's a court in the country that would have a problem with you shooting an attacker who has a gun - that's textbook self-defense. But if they don't have one, then why shoot them? Why not just stick it in their face and call the police to come pick him up? Killing him is a lot more than eye-for-an-eye justice IMHO.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By masher2 on 9/24/2007 12:15:13 PM , Rating: 3
> "But if they don't have one, then why shoot them?"

Because it doesn't take a gun to kill someone. If you are being faced by an "attacker" threatening force to compel you to surrender your property, your life is potentially in danger. Whether they have a gun, a knife, a piece of wood, or nothing at all. People have been beaten to death countless times with nothing but fists and feet.

By smitty3268 on 9/24/2007 12:23:04 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said, if your life is genuinely in danger, then I don't see a problem. That's self defense and no one has a problem with it. I'm just saying that if you are in no danger at all, it seems bad (to me) to kill someone. I know others feel differently.

RE: Is this a surprise to anyone?
By theapparition on 9/24/2007 3:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
Let's go with that argument. You are robbed or physically assaulted and you exercise deadly force. Nothing wrong with that, under the proper circumstances.

Now, with political and cultural climates, you never know how that will be viewed. Suppose the DA decides to then prosecute you for murder. You have no proof that the assailant tried to rob you, as far as the state's concerned, you very well may have been robbing him. Only thing to go on is your word. You may spend the rest of your life in a cell, trying to convice everyone it was self-defense. Pretty common defense in murder trials. Not pretty.

Or would you rather have a camera, that captured the event and would prove your side of the story? I know my answer, I'd like to hear yours.

By Misty Dingos on 9/24/2007 4:10:53 PM , Rating: 2
With any case of self defense (that ends in death or injury) comes the reality that you can, and in some cases should be, prosecuted for a crime.

Carrying a weapon for self defense is not a trivial or knee jerk reaction. Even if you don't face prosecution for the act it self you may be sued civilly by interested parties. Family members of the dearly departed criminal spring to mind. All the while you are making it possible for a lawyer’s kid to go to a better college. Not a win, win situation. But better than the alternative of taking a dirt nap.

These are the realities. And I am aware of them. Which is why, even though I carry a gun, you should never shoot someone who is not a threat to you or someone in you care.

In my case that means if the guy is 5'2" and has a stick I might pull the gun to make him go away but the chances of me pulling the trigger are vanishingly small. If the guy is drooling at the mouth and has a baseball bat I am going to empty the magazine into him.

Camera or no camera I can not base my decision to use self defense on them. And I still think that with very few exceptions I would rather pay for a policeman rather than a camera.

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