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Numerous (and indeed increasing numbers of) studies have been commissioned, to establish precisely how effective CCTV is, in the 'fight against crime'.

And yet, the inevitable answer time and again is, "the jury is still out".
How can this possibly be, given the enormous amount of funding having been pumped into video surveillance.

Well, the answer is actually quite simple.
The capability of producing a high quality picture, isn't the beginning and end of the story. Impressive technology, may well have a significant 'feel good' factor attached (the words, security, sense and false also instantly spring to mind), but this rarely if ever relates to actual performance.

Frequently examples are given of fairly minor offences, which have either been deterred or captured on recordings as a result of 'highly effective' CCTV being employed.
Good news indeed, but couldn't the same results have been achieved using a much lower cost, lower tech alternative?

For those in the know, the bottom line is actually glaringly obvious.

For any 'in depth' study of CCTV performance to be accepted as a worthwhile exercise, it is absolutely imperative that effectiveness should be measured, not simply against equivalent systems at other "similar" locations, but rather against the model for an optimised system design, which should ideally have been installed in the first place (provided of course, the correct system profiling techniques had been initiated at the outset).

Until there is a widespread acceptance that good system design is mostly about the application and technique, rather than simply complexity or 'digital' technology, we will continue to see highly expensive poorly applied CCTV systems being accepted as the norm.

What's the betting, in twenty years time, the jury will still be out!


A cautionary tale of CCTV in two neighbouring towns >>

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