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Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

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  • Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

    Hmmm.... wish I had the full text of this report:

    http://www.securityinfowatch.com/art...iteSection=306

    My own data is really just anecdotal, but I think when people know they're being recorded, they tend to be a little more conservative in what they do.

    That seems to hold true in most cases, well, except for robberies at convenience stores where they just pull on a face mask and ignore the fact that they're on camera. Do any of you guys really think that cameras don't have an effect on crime?

  • #2
    Re: Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

    Professor Martin Gill is correct but understates the problem. The truth is that over 80% of all installed surveillance CCTV, mostly wide FOV fixed cameras, is totally useless for Police purposes. The weakest link is the digital video recorder (DVR ) as most are rubbish producing unusable fuzzy blobs as images. Unfortunately so many, and that includes many interviewed by Martin Gill, do not have the slightest idea what a surveillance CCTV system is supposed to provide. The prime and most positive purpose is to provide archive stored video evidence of a crime to facilitate arrest and evidential quality images for sucessful prosecution. I see hundreds of such video streams every week but very few, less than 10% are of any value. If you are an imaging specialist or CCTV manager in either a Police Force or Local Government then if you identify yourself and your snail mail address I will send you a 70 page document that expands on the problem.
    Lee Tracey - Imaging Division, Photographic Department, West Midlands Police, Lloyd House, Birmingham - [email protected]

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

      I'm Assistant Director of Security for 3 hotels in Montreal. 2 of them are side-by-side out beside the highway near the airport. The area has one of the highest car theft rates in Canada. 3 years ago 52 cars were lost between the 2 hotels. 1 hotel had unmonitored cameras. The other didn't have cameras. The amount of cars stolen was the same at each.

      The only way we've seen a reduction was when we monitored the cameras & sent someone physically out to see what was going on. The cameras themselves did not deter.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

        Neil,

        Good point! I am a Manager at a Third Party Response Centre that provides Remote Video Verification services to Government and Commercial clients. It is for that very reason that we began offering and developing out Centre. Based on our own data, if you want any significant reduction in criminal activity you MUST beable to coordinate a "real-time" response or physically interact with any persons who may be onsite.

        Saying CCTV has no effect on crime, by just studying a non-interactive system is like saying the Police are ineffective after parking an empty cop car in your neighborhood for 4 weeks and studying the crime rates. Or complaining that your hangun has no effect on the target after firing a few shots, before checking and finding out there was no bullets in the gun to begin with.

        But hey, thats just my opinion!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

          CCTV can be used to reduce incidents of criminal or otherwise undesirable conduct. The need for personnel to observe, assess and respond to the conduct does have to be recognized. It's been my experience that reviewing a recording of an incident hours after it's taken place provides the Police with marginal information.


          Cameras have become so commonplace that a great many people don't notice them any more than they notice the light fixtures when they enter a monitored location. I've observed couples in elevator cars equipped with obvious cameras who probably would not have behaved in the manner they did if they had been aware they being observed.

          The comment regarding DVRs is "dead on." The improvements we were led to expect from digital recording have, in my opinion, been slim.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

            I am an industrial security practitioner in Nigeria. I have been using the CCTV system for many years.Its effect on crime cannot be over emphasized. While the human element can be influenced, the CCTV cannot.The psychological effect of an "unbiased observer" watching a would be intruder or an untrustworthy employee can go a long way to deter.The CCTV has been and woul continue to be relevant on crime.We can continue to improve on what we have.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Since when does CCTV have no effect on crime?

              I'm a surveillance applications engineer from New York.
              CCTV, like anything else - If you spend the right amount of money (buying the correct equipment), and you work with a security consultant, the closed circuit system will pay off. Every part of the system has to be the correct one, starting with the camera lens (which by the way is a very important factor in capturing the right amount of light), and ending with the recording device.
              The example with the car theft in Canada - I worked in a similar case in the Bronx, where we installed IR illuminators with high resolution and low light cameras from Honeywell Video Systems. Knowing what we had to deal with, tuning the system to its best, using the right DVR for the job, we had success with the arrest of a few teenagers.
              As I always explain to my customers

              Comment


              • #8
                System Installer

                I have been in the security industry since 1988, working in every position from trainee, Installer, Service Engineer, Project Manager, and Sales Engineer. I have witnessed CCTV growth at a tremendous rate, however the industry is still in it's infancy.

                Therefore I would like to comment from the installers perspective :

                1. Camera Specification.

                On the whole, the system specifier ( Accountants) do not talk to the end user. We often come across operators and control room managers that have a battle to get CCTV cameras installed where they need them, and to the specification they require....

                2. Night Time Evidence.

                All too often, a poor CCTV recording could be made at least 50% better by adjustments to supplementary lighting levels in the local area. It is better to make the camera CCD work less hard by increasing lighting, that to rely on DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and IR Illumination

                3. PTZ cameras.

                PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) cameras are not the perfect solution. It is easy to forget that the camera is only as good as it's position. I have found so many differences between end users, one for example uses tours of presets on all of their PTZ cameras, which is ineffective as typically pointing to another area right at the time it is needed, It is also costly, We are having to get the motor heads refurbished every 3-6 months due to component wear.

                For similar cost you could possibly install 3 or 4 static good performance cameras at the same location. This does have benefits and disadvantages, however to install a PTZ and expect it to perform as well as 3-4 statics is at best hopefull.

                4. Protocols.

                It is all too apparent that the 1st and 2nd generation of Matrix type systems have been "closed protocol" that is that they will only generally talk to perhaps 1-4 different protocols. As a system designer it is somewhat frustration not being able to offer Camera 1 to Matrix system B because of industry politics. The sooner every manufacturer accepts the need for "Open Protocol" the better it will be for all.

                Accepted that there are more and more manufacturers who support various other products, but the underlying problem still is "making" all the kit work together.

                If it is complicated by addittional interfaces and convertors, it means higher liklihood of a breakdown.

                Reliabilty should be the first concern, followed very closely by performance.

                5. Bells and Whistles

                The DVR market has exploded with manufacturers, some good, some not so good. All will however say their product is the best.

                A DVR should be exactly that, A digital Video Recorder.

                I would always specify a higher quality recorder over one that has extras that at the end of the day will not help produce the highest possible evidence, which after all, the important factor

                6. Winter/Summer Time

                This is a tricky subject. I have noticed this flaw in most DVR systems, what is the point in having the clocks change between 23:00 and 02:00, on a typical town centre night, this is exactly the time you would NOT want any problems with lost evidence.

                In an attempt to get accurate timing, most systems have some form of syncronised clock, wether it be rugby clock, atomic clock or internet time.

                Have any end users checked to see what would happen to evidence recorded exactly at the time the clocks change? What happens to the time ?

                It might be perfectly acceptable in court to submit evidence where the clock changes forwards or backwards 1 hour in the middle of the recording, but how would the courts view this problem, a defence lawyer might try and take advantage of this fact ?

                It is difficult enough to get evidence submitted, and the jury to agree the defendant was the person in the video, let alone jumps in recording times ?

                7. Funding and Replacement.

                It is easy to accept that a Personal Computer is out of date in 2-3 years, however security systems in the whole are different. It is overlooked that the large capital outlay for a CCTV system does not end when the system "Goes Live"

                Maintenance and repair is generally accepted, but UPGRADE????

                The market moves so fast that like the PC industry, yesterdays model is already obsolite, but it makes sense to budjet for 1/4 of the installation cost year in, year out for upgrading.

                This is a difficult area, but without continuous imporvement, your cutting edge CCTV system, may well be yesterdays VCR.

                Security systems are seen as a capital expenditure not a consumable item, yet the maintainer/ installer is given the task of answering why the system is not performing as was installed. The reality is that in the whole it is, It's just been surpassed by other technology.

                Think of it as a motor car, a BMW ( for example) is a BMW but if BMW wanted to sell you a 2000 model 3 series in 2006, would you want it ?

                It's still a perfectly good car, as it was in it's time, it's just old !!!

                8. An Finally..... Expectation

                This is the nightmare. Perception of CCTV is that it will instantly have an effect with crime, that the CCTV will enable operators to view every inch of every dark alley or street at all times day, night, rain, sun, snow etc...

                This is not reality, and certainly not the reality sold to Joe Public by the media and others.

                It simply is not possible to get this level of "Protection" in reality. The Designers, Installers, Operators and Police Forces etc can do a good attempt
                at increasing security for all, but CCTV is not THE solution, It is PART of a solution.

                Being on the design/installation end of CCTV, I would be extreamly happy if an end user came to me asking for 100% blanket coverage of all the area he wants to monitor, I would probably not ever have to work again !!!

                But the reality is that that will never happen.

                I welcome all comments, or questions.

                Regards,

                Ian.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Unmonitored Cameras

                  Unmonitored Cameras are about as useful as a unloaded gun. I don't understand why one would install thousands of dollars worth of CCTV equipment to have it pan the facility hoping to catch a slip and fall. Just as Neil mentioned they are a wonderful tool for the security staff. We respond on almost a daily basis to some sort of a security incident based on what the CCTV monitoring officer has observed.



                  Originally posted by Neil
                  I'm Assistant Director of Security for 3 hotels in Montreal. 2 of them are side-by-side out beside the highway near the airport. The area has one of the highest car theft rates in Canada. 3 years ago 52 cars were lost between the 2 hotels. 1 hotel had unmonitored cameras. The other didn't have cameras. The amount of cars stolen was the same at each.

                  The only way we've seen a reduction was when we monitored the cameras & sent someone physically out to see what was going on. The cameras themselves did not deter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Unmonitored cameras may not even be seen by bad guys. I've seen installers place yellow or blue strobe lights on every Pelco weather enclosure, which gets people's attention - that's a camera.

                    Even if the camera has attention, after repeated tests, its obvious that the camera isn't doing anything. Yeah, it records you jack the car. When its checked, hours later, because the police ask about the camera - the bad guy is long gone.
                    Some Kind of Commando Leader

                    "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lee Tracey
                      Professor Martin Gill is correct but understates the problem. The truth is that over 80% of all installed surveillance CCTV, mostly wide FOV fixed cameras, is totally useless for Police purposes. The weakest link is the digital video recorder (DVR ) as most are rubbish producing unusable fuzzy blobs as images. Unfortunately so many, and that includes many interviewed by Martin Gill, do not have the slightest idea what a surveillance CCTV system is supposed to provide. The prime and most positive purpose is to provide archive stored video evidence of a crime to facilitate arrest and evidential quality images for sucessful prosecution. I see hundreds of such video streams every week but very few, less than 10% are of any value. [email protected]
                      Good point Lee.
                      If a system cannot provide video that is admissible in court becauseof it's picture quality the bad guys find this out VERY quickly. Sure I could set up hundreds or thousands of cameras but if they do not give a good image or a clear view (when did they put up THAT street light?!?) it is of little value.

                      I have seen a pole-mounted cam (don't remember now how high up) actually prevent a possible purse snatch. We were assigned to 4hrs at the cities FD, PD, EMS dispatch center where the cams were monitored. As we were being showed the cam system the was a guy scanning the area and zeroing in on an elderly female. The dispatcher flipped on a light on the cam and the reaction from the guy being watched was dramatic. He knew he went fromcasually observed to targeted. Left in great haste.

                      The point of that is the guy knew the cam was there, was a known small time hood but still didn't really give a d*mn.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        FBI Laboratory for Picture Enhancement

                        Corpsecurity and ACP01 touched on an important item. US Army CID, on behalf of DOD, worked on enhancing CCTV pictures around special weapons and chemical storage facilities.
                        The FBI took it from there and made some startling developments. Several were demonstrated on Court TV, Discovery and The Learning Channel.
                        Scotland Yard shared their enhancement developments with the FBI and the Bureau reciprocated.
                        To have cameras installed without monitoring them is just plain dumb. Conversley, to have a single operator monitoring hour after hour is self defeating. Conditioned response sets in, you have seen nothing out of the ordinary for hours, the brain is conditioned to see nothing even if there is something of importance presented on the screen.
                        Half an hour at a time, is the preferred method, but personnel may not be available for such monitoring.
                        Enjoy the day,
                        Bill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          CCTV is useful, when used properly

                          The article in question says that there are approximately 4.2 million cameras monitoring over 60 million people. Criminals in this area must be thinking that they aren't going to get caught, because how are officials supposed to monitor everyone?

                          These camera's are purely 'surveillance' cameras. Afterall, detection of a crime or event is not complete unless there is an actual response to that incident. The greatest technology in the world can monitor all 4.2 million camera's, but if there isn't a guard or LEO to respond, then what good are they? All they are doing is pointing out a problem, and showing that there isn't sufficient human resources to deal with it.

                          If you scale it down, CCTV may make a difference in your area. I personally would not take this article to heart. They are talking about such a huge scale, that it is not relevant to most of our situations.

                          Camera's alone only provide a psychological deterrent. The concept of protection in depth needs to be applied here. One method is not 100% effective.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Interesting News Articles

                            http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/p...601310360/1006

                            http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/...-camera31.html

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There are approximately 150 plus cameras covering the campus at ESPN Headquarters. There are basically cameras everywhere. They are digital and zoom is so well that you can determine the eye color when zoomed in. At times it has proven useful when monitoring the area for people who are taking pictures of the campus. ESPN gets really nervous of this as being a world wide known entity, it faces the potential for terrorism the same as any company. Therefore the ability to zoom in on license plates, individuals in vehicles can sometimes prove to be invaluable when our patrol vehicles may not be able to reach the area quickly.

                              Comment

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