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Well to begin with, we should first look at the global assessments for the entire project.
Let’s consider a brief theoretical ‘global’ assessment for an average small town somewhere in the U.K.. The main problems from our Crime Audit are occassional vandalism, grafitti, vehicle (auto) crime, the odd bit of shoplifting, and a degree of drunken or unruly behaviour (Anti Social Behaviour), particularly late at night and at the weekend.
A suggested category 1 ‘global’ Profile for a CCTV system may be something like this:-
• 30% Deterrence
• 15% Incident Monitoring
• 10% Site Management
• 45% Evidential Recording
We want the system to provide a reasonable level of Deterrence, whilst recognising that the chances of spotting an actual crime in progress are possibly no greater than 15% (in practice, that’s probably quite hopelessly optimistic).
The system will only occasionally be used in a Site Management role, but its undoubted strength will be in its ability to provide Evidential Quality Recordings of suspects after an incident.
Looking at the specific problems, vandalism is generally sporadic and therefore difficult to target (except possibly as a seperate covert operation), but will almost certainly be influenced to some degree by the deterrent presence of CCTV equipment.
Grafitti should initially not be deterred but rather targetted, specifically with covert cameras to achieve captures which in themselves create a much stronger deterrence to repeat offences - the presence of overt cameras will generally serve to relocate or displace the problem, although these could be considered as a replacement following a series of successful (and publicised) covert operations.
Vehicle crime rates do generally respond positively to the presence of CCTV, but unfortunately if not thought through correctly, will again simply relocate the problem elsewhere.
Whilst shoplifting is essentially an internal problem for the individual stores, the Evidential Recording of suspects can provide an essential back up, to compare with the descriptions provided by staff and members of the public.
Indeed, if a community based 'Safety Net' approach is adopted, this can significantly increase the deterent effect, and significantly reduce crime above and beyond that which would be achieved by a number of disparate independent systems.
It’s vitally important to consider, that achieving high levels of suspect recognition after an incident, and the arrests or convictions that may result, will in themselves provide a significant enhancement to the 'passive' deterrent capability of the installation; this is what Doktor Jon would describe as 'DtD' or Deterrence through Detection.
Put another way, if it can be demonstrated that a suspect will be efficiently captured and identified by an optimised camera system, provided it is adequately publicised, this should in itself help to drive down crime.
So what does this suggest to us in terms of how to profile a CCTV system?