In the current world, surveillance cameras are widely employed as a security system in most public places such as schools, airport, streets, marketplaces, and hotels. Security is the issue and the aim of the government is to protect citizens' lives at all costs. The presence of security cameras in public areas increases people's safety by deterring crimes which have become very common. The modern advances in surveillance systems and security cameras have improved levels of security management, enforcement, and monitoring. Cameras helped to thwart the activities of even the most experienced and sophisticated criminals and thieves. The paper will discuss the benefits of public surveillance cameras.
Public surveillance cameras deter crimes in public places such as roads, malls, and parks. The primary objective of installing these cameras is to deter robbers, thieves, criminals and other unscrupulous people from indulging in criminal and illicit activities. CCTV'S are installed in townhouses, schools, apartment buildings, offices, condominiums, malls, bungalows, university campuses, stores, and other public places. These cameras detect suspicious doings such as shoplifting, vandalism, and theft. Criminals fear being caught when doing illegal activities and when they realize the presence of a surveillance camera, they refrain from any activities that would be detected by a surveillance camera. CCTV's sends alert to stationed security officers about real-time thefts occurring in different public places. The cameras reduce thefts in parks and mall since offenders are aware that their actions are being monitored. The sight of the camera staring back at criminals, and the absolute thought of getting apprehended red-handed are intimidating enough for offenders to be on their best behavior as they would know that their identity and illegal activity have been captured. In 2007 Baltimore CCTV conducted a review on the number of CCTV cameras deployment and their impact. According to the review, CCTV has reduced 15% crimes because of proper and active monitoring. This means that the CCTVs are useful in solving crime issues (Berry & Carter p. 99).
Surveillance cameras ensure security management at public places. It is tough to manage schools, university and malls with police watching them. These places contain crowds of people that are not manageable. However, surveillance cameras ensure that all corners of these places are safe and there is no attempt at mischief and other activities. America has ubiquitous entertainment, shopping, and recreation malls that are large and complexes. These malls and recreation places have numerous operations going on and few police that are available in these malls. Surveillance cameras show who enters or leave the building what they are carrying and they look suspicious or not. If cameras detect a mischief the people monitoring it are able to attend to it before it happens. In public malls and other places that people enters in large number, it become expensive to hire men to patrol all the corners. It is challenging and expensive to sustain private security personnel and armed to man nooks and corners of malls. Currently, the managers in school, schools to obtain owners and developers of malls have installed state-of-the-art surveillance cameras that can be managed from centrally controlled rooms to monitor security aspects on a micro level and specifically outlying areas and parking lots. Malls managers install these cameras to manage and monitor their security situation 24/7.
Surveillance cameras videos can be used as evidence in courts. In legal cases such as theft images and videos captured by surveillance cameras serves as valid evidence that can incriminate the defaulter. Technology has improved the CCTV's system and they can record voice, audio, and sound. Forms of threats in colleges and other areas can be captured and recorded by these cameras. Audio records are often helpful in legal cases in sexual harassment cases. Companies reduce their loss as workers get captured stealing office items, and inventory can be recognized by the camera and evidence shown to the judge in a court. These surveillance videos are regarded as valid proof and the offender can be declared guilty. CCTV camera systems maintain records for future reference. Videos and images recorded by these cameras are recorded and stored in databases that are easily accessible. When these records are needed, they can be easily accessed compared to when records are in hard copy.
Terrorism is a significant threat to any country the policymakers have recognized the effectiveness of camera surveillance to counter terrorism effectively. The effectiveness of CCTV cameras is measured by their ability stop or prevents terror attacks (Awan, p. 198). After London attacks which took place in 2005, the effectiveness of camera surveillance to combat terrorism was greatly debated. The booms exploded on 7th July 2005. They exploded on the three famous underground trains in London. There was another bomb explosion on a bus that led to the killing of 52 customers and four people suspected to be perpetrators. CCTV footage is the only source that identified the four suicide perpetrators. This shows its effectiveness in terrorism. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation 2005 b, terrorists attempted another attack to bomb the Public Transport System in London, but the only explosion was on bombs' detonators. CCTV pictures of the four terrorists were released soon after the attacks. The images were used to arrest the bomb attackers (British Broadcasting Corporation).
The cameras use ANPR cameras that take pictures of license plates of different cars make it easier for officers to identify terrorists. In France, Alliot-Marie declared that to combat street crimes and terrorism the number of video surveillance will be tripled by 2009 (Reuters, p. 203). Some opinions have been argued against CCTV ability to combat terrorism saying that it suspicious individuals evade areas with cameras and that it only recognizes a perpetrator at the action of attacking. Terrorist leaders nowadays are recruiting more women than men who are less suspicious of attacks in future. This makes it hard to recognize the terrorists.
Public surveillance camera reduces sexual harassments cases. People perform some actions because they feel that no one can be able to trace them. The presence of surveillance camera reduces these cases as people are afraid that the camera may capture third actions. The presence of public surveillance cameras gives people peace of mind. It increases their sense of reassurance and security that nothing wrong will happen to them since they are protected. Even in areas with high crime rates people walk fearlessly since they are certain that the camera will capture anyone who does mischief to them. The community feels more secure when there are surveillance cameras around the city than when they are not installed. The surveillance deters crimes in almost every place where people operate. These places include schools, roads traffic, railway stations, residential areas, hospitals, and stadiums. The people can operate their business safely because they believe that someone is keeping watch of their business and properties. Society supports the claim that CCTVs are useful since they keep security on them making the criminals to fear to commit crimes (Clive, and Moran.73). They provide a safer working environment at homes and also at working areas making the public comfortable at their job places. However, as much as CCTV cameras claim to reduce crime levels, the reduction is not as high as the society would expect them to be. Professor Ditton, a scholar of criminology in Scottish Centre, stated that Surveillance system in urban cities and town centers have failed to bring a reduction in crime expectations.
Cost-effectiveness of surveillance cameras
CCTVs save a country a lot of money since all they are network cables that carry data and power. Data is transmitted in the form of videos. The transmission of data is done using the IP networks which are cheap. In recent research conducted by Big Brother 2005 on cost-effectiveness, there was a comparison between surveillance and police officers (Lyon, p. 249) The research shows those police officers are much expensive than cameras. According to a report from the UK in 2005, the annual cost of CCTV per camera was ranging from 600 the cheapest to the most expensive one which cost was 3000 pounds. This means that the expense of a single camera is 1/15th to 1/80 the cost of a police officer annually when training, equipment's, and other benefits are included. An average police in the UK is paid 2300 pounds yearly. When this cost is compared to the expense of a CCTV is like one cop versus dozens of CCTV cameras. The UK is now using IP networks which are cheaper than analog systems that used fiber. The reduction in the cost of CCTV changes the cost of CCTV annually making the comparison to police to be a single police officer for a hundred cameras.
In 2007 Baltimore CCTV conducted a review on the number of cameras deployment and their impact. According to the review, surveillance has reduced 15% crimes because of proper and active monitoring. This means that the CCTVs are useful in solving crime issues (Berry & Carter p. 99). Some people do not like the idea of increasing the number of CCTV cameras despite the fact that they are cheaper than police officers. They feel that more police officers to be employed so as to fight crime. Increasing the number of police officers does not guarantee a decrease in criminal activities in urban areas. The experts must try and use the advanced technology to minimize the cost per a CCTV camera.
In conclusion, security is a major issue in any country and the government has a responsibility to provide a safe environment to the citizens. CCTV cameras are the most effective method of reducing and preventing crimes and terrorism in the economy. Surveillance cameras deter and detect criminals for example bomb attackers. The society feels protected when the camera surveillance is monitoring them but many do like the idea of having surveillance camera all over because they feel they are invading their privacy. Security is vital and hence people should accept the idea of being monitored so that they can stay safe.
Berry, G & Carter, M. Assessing Crime Prevention Initiatives: The First Steps. Crime Prevention (1992) Unit Paper 31. London: Home Office.
Norris, Clive, and Jade Moran. Surveillance, closed circuit television and social control. Routledge, 2016.Lyon, David. "Everyday surveillance: Personal data and social classifications." Information, Communication & Society 5.2 (2002): 242-257.
British Broadcasting Corporation: London Attacks: In-Depth Report. (2005a). BBC News,
Reuters: France to Strengthen Video Surveillance System. (2007) P.201-205). Discussion Paper.October 12. Available at www.reuters.com (Status: September 2011).
Awan, Imran. "COUNTERBLAST: Terror in the Eye of the Beholder: The 'Spycam'Saga: CounterTerrorism or Counter-Productive?." The Howard Journal of Crime and Justice 50.2 (2011): 199-202.
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