Criminology - Advanced Surveillance

3229 words 13 pages
How effective are CCTV cameras as a proven crime control and prevention measure? Describe the crime control literature which attempts to assess their efficacy and evaluate the impact such studies have had on overall proliferation of these systems. Illustrate your answer by reference to both official reports and academic and NGO studies supporting or contradicting such claims.

This essay will aim to critically discuss CCTV cameras as a proven method of crime control and prevention tool. In order to analyse academic, official and Non Government Organisation (NGO) studies, it is important to consider the rise of CCTV. CCTV is the one of the fastest growing forms of surveillance and crime control in the UK. CCTV was gradually diffused
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According to the Great Manchester Police describe a number of ways how CCTV has helped them detain suspected criminals. The control room at Mill Gate Shopping centre has assisted in the arrest of sex offenders. Inspector Charlotte Cadden from East Bury Neighbourhood Policing Team said; “The CCTV cameras are instrumental in helping us with our enquiries on a number of occasions, which in turn are helping us keep shoppers safe.” (GMP; 2010) According to Big Brother Watch, there has been a 71% fall in the amount of crimes in the Metropolitan Police area. This fell from 416 000 in 2003/2004 to 121 700 in 2008/2009. This therefore suggests that CCTV is instrumental in crime reduction and crime prevention.
The issue of displacement of crime as a result of CCTV surveillance is also a reality. A current feature of surveillance practice is to affix the cameras in high-rent areas. This may result in the crime being pushed from one area to another, for example; into council owned residential areas. Displacement should be of real concern since the traditional community based measures have been neglected for electronic surveillance. Some police also conclude that CCTV displaces crime. (Cited in Privacy International; 1992) The displacement of crime through CCTV means that once the opportunities for criminogenic behaviour are minimised in one area, that behaviour will be displaced to another community, or offenders may change their choice of crime.