Are Closed Circuit Cameras Effective in Battling Crime?

by Elizabeth Hall

     I believe that closed circuit cameras are effective in battling crime for several reasons.
Security camera at London (Heathrow) Airport. ...
Security camera at London (Heathrow) Airport. Taken by Adrian Pingstone in August 2004 and released to the public domain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In high crime areas, it may act as a deterrent if the offender knows that he is being watched, and in the very least, if not a deterrent, it will help police obtain the identity of the offender once he or she has committed the crime.  
     It is more likely that the latter will be the effect of the added cameras, however just the presence of these cameras may make first time offenders think twice about committing the crime in the first place. In other public areas I believe that it would serve the same purpose. This was shown in the real life situation in London, when the subway was bombed in 2005. (British Broadcasting Company. 2008).The video taken helped the police identify the bombers, and also helped in future planning strategies to circumvent these types of attacks  
     Some would argue that placing these cameras would take away from our privacy, and that no studies have shown that cameras deter violent crime. They feel that it intrudes on our individual rights to privacy by watching our every move in public, and that the average person who is not doing anything wrong, still is being scrutinized, just by the fact that the cameras are there. (Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. 2008). I can understand their side of the argument, but do not believe that
the same people would not appreciate that camera being present if something happened to them personally.
     I feel that in this day and age, video is almost a necessity in the law enforcement field.
"camera+phone" (Photo credit: sheldonschwartz)
In a time when individual rights over public order is more prevalent than ever, the camera keeps law enforcement from having to argue in cases of lack of physical evidence, because the camera silently witnesses the incident, and cannot distort, or forget any of the sequence of events, and has no attachment to either side of the matter.



Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania. (2008). Debate: Are Closed Circuit Cameras
     Effective in Battling Crime? Retrieved from the World Wide Web September 22,                                          
     ©2007 Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

British Broadcasting Company. (2008). London Attacks In Depth. Retrieved from the
     World Wide Web September 22, 2009

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