It is true that street cameras help to solve crimes, prevent accidents and stealing. This question is argued, and each side has its drawbacks and benefits. Millions of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are installed in the streets around the globe. Their primary aim is to reduce crime and increase public safety. The measurement of the effectiveness of street cameras in crime prevention is a tricky process. A person can never be sure whether an offender will change his mind because of a camera. However, the latter plays an essential role in crime prevention, deters accidents and stealing, reduces the fear of crime, manages places, aids police investigations, and others.
Street cameras assist in the detection and even arrest of offenders. The mechanism of crime prevention requires a timely police response to any significant incident detected by camera operators. Street cameras enable the local system of criminal justice to pursue offenders’ conviction. Modern facial-recognition software and other technologies are valuable since they make images from street cameras clear and qualitative. Now, software can automatically take surveillance footage for information (Welsh and Farrington 59). For example, it can search for a face of a specific person or create a searchable database. Moreover, software can identify objects from CCTV cameras by size, shape, and color. It can recognize cars and even accurately read license plates. Also, it can identify people’s gender, mood, approximate age, height and other information. The use of multiple street cameras enables to track behavior patterns. Such devices can automatically zoom person’s face detecting the shape of the nose, distance between eyes, lip shape, and others. All information from CCTV systems is stored in a huge database. It is not necessary to sit long hours watching video to uncover needed information. A search query enables to do it within seconds.
Street cameras lead to the reduction of the initial crime. Offenders become aware that the area is monitored, an they will not commit any crime or, at least, will hesitate. The availability of local resources is one of the main factors in preventing street crimes. Despite the offenders’ ability to adapt to any surveillance technology, CCTV systems successfully reduce the likelihood of hooliganism and burglary in the streets in range of cameras. In some cases, the local authorities do not only employ fake cameras in the streets, but also on public transport. In such a way, they reduce and prevent crime and accidents (Welsh and Farrington, 63). Fake cameras may have the same influence on people’s consciousness as the real ones. The fact that the camera is watching, makes many offenders think before acting.
Street cameras reduce the fear of crime. Studies show that the presence of cameras makes people feel secure in the streets. There is an idea that the area with cameras may have a positive economic impact due to the fact that people feel safer. At the same time, the reduced fear of crime in the areas with cameras increases the number of individuals walking in these zones. Hence, there is an increase in natural surveillance. Also, street cameras encourage people to be more conscious of security. Despite the fact that there are claims that constant monitoring is an intrusion into personal privacy, cameras may save someone’s live and prevent from getting involved in a number of street crimes.
CCTV cameras help police to carry out investigations. Footage from surveillance cameras are often taken as a proof of crime. Cameras have made it easier for police officers to investigate offences in the areas with CCTV systems (La Vigne). They can get a lot of valuable information that will help to detect a criminal.
Street cameras play a significant role in crime prevention. Also, they can contribute to criminal detection. CCTV tapes present evidence for offender’s conviction. Moreover, camera footage can assist in the identification of potential witnesses. In case a street camera records an incident, and the police respond to it timmely and arrest a person on-camera, incident recording can help investigators gain a conviction (Surette 161). The potential of CCTV cameras to assist in police investigations tends to prevent crimes since offenders experience a great risk of being captured.
Also, CCTV cameras are good at managing places. They are used to determine whether there is a need for a police response (Welsh and Farrington 83). It has been proven that an assault on police have been substantially reduced due to cameras that enable the determination of an appropriate level of response to an incident. It is done with the help of sending more police officers to large fights or the limited number of officers to minor incidents. Effective place management results in the reduced number of crimes, accidents, and stealing.
Street cameras help to gather information about offenders and monitor their behavior in public places. As a rule, camera officers know the faces of local criminals, and cameras are the best way of monitoring their actions and movements in a non-intrusive manner. For example, CCTV cameras help to gather information about individuals who sell stolen goods. It is very difficult to get away with stealing goods if cameras are filming. Therefore, in most cases, thieves are caught. Street cameras catch them before or during the process of committing a crime. Hence, there is a proof, and the criminal will be definitely punished. It makes offenders think before committing a crime for the second time. They are less likely to do it in the area if they know they are filmed the whole time. Crimes like shoplifting seem to be not worth if there is a possibility of going to jail (La Vigne).
Street cameras increase the number of recorded crimes based on their types. Many offenses, such as graffiti, minor violence acts, and drug offenses, have very low rates of reporting. CCTV operators can spot these offenses. In addition, these cameras can help to nab motorists who drive recklessly, putting the lives of pedestrians and other drivers at risk.