CCTV only effective at cutting car crime
(TELEGRAPH) The review of a series of CCTV studies revealed cameras that flood town centres and housing estates do not have a significant impact on crime.
In one city, it only led to increased reporting of offences to the police.
It will renew fears over the role of the CCTV network in the UK, which is already the largest in the world with the equivalent of one camera for every 12 people.
An analysis of 44 research studies was carried out by the Campbell Collaboration, a review body, which found that while cameras have a modest impact on crime levels, they are at their most effective in reducing car crime in car parks, especially when used alongside improved lighting and the introduction of security guards.
The authors, who include Cambridge University criminologist David Farrington, said CCTV should continue to be used but have a much narrower focus, such as reducing vehicle crime.
Results from a 2007 study in Cambridge which examined 30 cameras in the city centre found they had no effect on crime but did lead to a rise in the reporting of assault, robbery and other violent crimes to the police.
However, the Campbell Collaboration stressed that CCTV is more effective in reducing crime in Britain than in other countries.
It said CCTV is now the single most heavily-funded crime prevention measure operating outside the criminal justice system adding: “Over the last decade, CCTV accounted for more than three quarters of total spending on crime prevention by the British Home Office.”
Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: “CCTV has definitely got a role to play in combating crime but its use should be decided by local communities.”