Circuit Television Surveillance Systems

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The use of closed - circuit television (CCTV) surveillance systems to curtail burgeoning crime rates in the United Kingdom has resulted in the rapid proliferation of such systems in almost all town centres in the country, making it practically ubiquitous. This system was first established in Bournemouth town centre in 1985 and according to Armstrong and Norris (1999), following that 300000 cameras where installed annually (cited by Davies & Thasen, 2000).


In the words of Alun Michael, Minister of State:
"The advantages of CCTV, properly managed, speak for themselves: crime prevention, the deterrent effect of knowing that there is observation, the alerting of police at an early stage to stop dangerous situations escalating, the operational assistance to the police in sizing up a situation, the safer convictions that can be obtained - and, above all, the fact that people's confidence is renewed, which has led to many town centres being revitalized" (cited by Goold, 2004, p. 1).
Despite such overwhelming enthusiasm, critics have pointed out that there is little concrete scientific evidence that proves the positive effect of CCTV surveillance systems in reducing crime. Therefore an evaluation of the exact role of CCTV in reducing crime in town centres is called for as it will provide a comprehensive analysis of the existing situation and help ascertain the future of such systems in the fight against crime.
These systems usually consist of cameras with monitors and video recorders. The cameras may be fixed or they may literally have a roaming eye. Nowadays, cameras have sophisticated features like pan, tilt and zoom which may be used as per the need. ...
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