Friday, June 27, 2008

CCTV Cameras "don't substantially reduce crime"

Bruce Schneier (an American cryptographer, computer security specialist, and writer) has written an excellent article about how CCTV doesn't keep us safe, yet the cameras are everywhere (link via guardian.co.uk) CCTV cameras (and all the other surveillance) is a very hot topic in the UK since we are frequently referred to as 'the most surveilled country' in the world, and yet just last month, it was reported in The Guardian that the CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police. As Mr. Schneier points out, if CCTV cameras were a crime deterrent, then camera-happy London, with something like 500,000, would be the safest city on the planet. Indeed. I have made a very similar observation (I usually refer to the UK not just London) and said practically the same words whenever CCTV cameras are being discussed. I'm sure there are many others who have concluded the same thing - and yet we still get more CCTV cameras! The solution to rising crime isn't more CCTV as Mr. Schneier states: The funds spent on CCTV cameras would be far better spent on hiring experienced police officers. Here's the million dollar question though: Does anyone in government listen to the experts*? *Schneier on Security - A blog covering security and security technology.

4 comments:

  1. "Here's the million dollar question though: Does anyone in government listen to the experts*?"

    In answer to your half million pound sterling question .... Absolutely not!

    The problems with current CCTV deployment in the U.K. have been predicted for perhaps the last fifteen years, and despite the fact that further more advanced systems are coming online almost weekly, little has thus far been done to ensure that it is done correctly.

    Only time will tell whether current disquiet about poor performance, will eventually result in any significant improvements.

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  2. It's quite depressing to learn that even more CCTV (and more advanced systems) are being installed.

    It's not just an infringement of our civil liberties, it's a huge waste of money.

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  3. I'm no expert but it seems to me that there are too many cameras and people watching people who don't need watching that the effect of any sort of information gathering has been diluted to the point of being useless. It seems that cameras are more of a back up for when something goes wrong than for actually preventing it in the first place.

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  4. You're so right, Bob! We shouldn't be relying on CCTV for security. As you say it doesn't prevent crime. We need more police patrolling the streets and walking around town centres. And I don't mean PCSO's, I mean real police!

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