Effects of Closed Circuit Television Surveillance on Crime: A Systematic Review

Additional Info

  • Authors: Brandon Welsh, David Farrington
  • Published Date: 2008-12-02
  • Coordinating groups: Crime and Justice
  • Type of document: Protocol, Review, Plain language summary
  • Volume: 4
  • Issue nr: 17
  • Category Image: Category Image
  • PLS Title: Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) as a crime prevention tool
  • PLS Logo: PLS Logo
  • PLS Description: This Campbell systematic review examines the effects of closed circuit television (CCTV) on property crime and violent crime. The review reports on whether using CCTV results in crime displacement, and also assesses whether using CCTV leads to the spread of crime prevention benefits. The authors found 44 evaluations. The studies were from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Norway and Sweden. Most of the studies (34) were from the United Kingdom.

Closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras serve many functions and are used in both public and private settings. The prevention of personal and property crime is among the primary objectives in public space, which is the main focus of this review. CCTV is viewed as a technique of “formal surveillance” and in this regard it is seen to enhance or take the place of security personnel. Results of this review indicate that CCTV has a modest but significant desirable effect on crime, is most effective in reducing crime in car parks, is most effective when targeted at vehicle crimes (largely a function of the successful car park schemes), and is more effective in reducing crime in the United Kingdom than in other countries. These results lend support for the continued use of CCTV to prevent crime in public space, but suggest that it be more narrowly targeted than its present use would indicate. Future CCTV schemes should employ high-quality evaluation designs with long follow-up periods.
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