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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: 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.


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