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Friday, 26 February 2010


security camera


A good article from over the pond on the failure of CCTV to make us anymore safer. In fact it goes on to propound that in fact they make us less safe.

Although it's comforting to imagine vigilant police monitoring every camera, the truth is very different, for a variety of reasons: technological limitations of cameras, organizational limitations of police and the adaptive abilities of criminals. No one looks at most CCTV footage until well after a crime is committed. And when the police do look at the recordings, it's very common for them to be unable to identify suspects. Criminals don't often stare helpfully at the lens and -- unlike the Dubai assassins -- tend to wear sunglasses and hats. Cameras break far too often.

In London the figures for crime solved by CCTV is 1 in every 1,000 cameras. Not a very good success rate I would have thought. And those cameras cost the taxpayer £200 million.


And although a police officer on the street can respond to a crime in progress, someone watching a CCTV screen can only dispatch an officer to arrive much later. By their very nature, cameras result in underused and misallocated police resources.

I think that the £200 million would have been better spent on recruiting a few more Plods.

Full article over on CNN.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, but we never look at the opportunity cost of government ideas, do we?

    We only look at the 1 in 1,000 successes, not how many successes £200M could have bought for us instead...


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