Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime

Grits for Breakfast (via CrimLaw) reports on a British study and its findings that surveillance cameras do not reduce crime.

Home Office researchers who studied 14 schemes across Britain found that only one had brought a clear fall in the local crime rate. While there was strong public support for CCTV before it was installed, opinion began to shift when people realised the cameras made little difference.

But they do make a difference, because they invade our privacy. They are just another measure that fails to make us safer, only less free.

< Forensic Writer Launches Net News Group | Global Electronic Surveillance for Dummies >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#1)
    by bad Jim on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:00:17 AM EST
    For that matter, what do car alarms give us except noise pollution?

    The only reason the crimes keep happening in the presence of CCTVs, as I'm sure many attorneys will attest, is because criminals are stupid. CCTV aid in prosecution of criminal activity and I say "keep them". Having been the victim of theft on a few occassions, I am glad that on 2 of them there was a public camera involved.

    Try to convince Wal-mart that cameras don't reduce crime. They may not stop crime, but they're a strong deterrent if they're visible. If they're not, they just make connecting the dots easier after the crime was committed. Privacy issues? I'm not worried about it. That camera is just connected to a set of eyes, and wherever there are people, there are eyes. Most camera operators are too overtasked to care about whether you pick your nose. Facial recognition software is what has me worried. It scares me to think of being picked up off the street because some computer decided I looked like a criminal. Red light cameras should go on the trash heap, too. I shouldn't get the ticket because I loaned my car to someone.

    So British criminals are too stupid to notice and/or avoid surveillance cameras and this "proves" that they don't work at all? Maybe they just don't work in Britian, where the average criminal is an already ale sodden soccer hooligan looking to beat some poor guy up for his wallet. On top of which, British crime has been on the upswing for the last decade: How can we know for sure that the rise hasn't been slower than it would have been?

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 06:15:34 AM EST
    I always say, I'd rather be mugged than watched by who knows how many prying eyes. Safety is not the ultimate for me, freedom is. Freedom isn't free, it's messy and dangerous, but I like it.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#6)
    by desertswine on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 07:37:44 AM EST
    They could've just asked a couple of 7-11 clerks.

    British study and its findings that surveillance cameras do not reduce crime. Duh.... The only thing that reduces crime is getting criminals off the streets! As previously stated... Cameras come in handy after the fact though.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#8)
    by Patrick on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 08:04:18 AM EST
    Ditto B.B's Comment.

    This is a bit ridiculous, no? How can you prove a crime wasn't committed? Maybe two identical establishments, one with cameras, one without, and the results tracked over time? Just wondering...

    One would have to think that it does help in the prosecution of criminals, including employee theft. That alone makes it worthwhile. Remember there is a difference between public and private. By the way, do you think Vegas casinos are wasting their time with all their surveillance if it doesn't reduce crime?

    I am opposed to surveillance cameras in public places, but I have to say the statement that they don't reduce crime is only part of the question, and maybe not the most important part. The real question is, what do they do to the conviction rate when crimes are committed? Do they result in the apprehension of more criminals? Do they result in more convictions? These are a lot more meaningful questions than the more general "do they reduce crime?"

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#12)
    by Patrick on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 09:40:20 AM EST
    It's anecdotal at best, but a surveillance camera at a local gas station was the only link that identified two suspects in a double homicide in my jurisdiction. That's just one of the multiple time a private surveillance camera has helped in my experience. The camera is a helpful tool when use properly. TL Claims "But they do make a difference, because they invade our privacy." My question is what expecation of privacy do have from being observed while walking down a public street or congregating in a public place?

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#13)
    by chris on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 09:52:28 AM EST
    Exactly, Patrick. If it's not Big Brother watching you swallow a loogie, it's some vagabond spying on you behind his shopping cart. In both instances, the assumption that you are in a open space, and therefore very likely to be seen, common sense dictates privacy is limited. Where I would raise a level of concern is if we were being surveiled in the confines of our own homes, where we pay for our solitude. Breaching one's sanctity of home is breach of property rights, and cannot be tolerated. The argument of who has property rights to a park bench, therefore, would be meaningless. Since all can gather at the bench, the issue of your individual freedoms being violated is moot.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#14)
    by pigwiggle on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:04:42 AM EST
    There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in public. This is a diversion; we need to be frying the big fish like the abolition of probable cause for the feds (sec218), delaying notice of the execution of a warrant (sec213), mining private records (sec215), warrantless seizure of voicemail (sec 209).

    "On top of which, British crime has been on the upswing for the last decade: How can we know for sure that the rise hasn't been slower than it would have been?" That's rubbish. Overall crime has fallen by 39% since 1995, according to the British Crime Survey. The risk of being a victim of the crime is the lowest since the survey started in 1981. Violent crime has started to rise in the last few years, according to home office figures, although that could be due to an increase in reporting rate. BCS figures show a leveling off. Back to the subject, I'm in two minds about the spread of CCTV. Obviously, I don't like the intrusion and normalisation of surveillance, and if the study is accurate that it has no effect on crime rates, then that should be borne in mind when considering crime prevention measures. On the other hand, CCTV does help reduce the fear of crime, which is massively disproportionate to the crime rate in the UK, and I'm sure it increases conviction rates, which as Eli says is important. In theory it should also help reduce wrongful convictions, although I don't know if there's any evidence it has.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:09:24 AM EST
    My main concern is the potential for abuse. The homeless guy in an alley doesn't have zoom capabilities. The ladies should be the most worried, with how these cameras have been used in the past to peek down tops and up skirts. The camera is more powerful than the human eye. Inside a casino or store is private property, and as long as they have a sign on display that states "You are being watched", I can reluctantly live with that. But public space should be free of an ever present set of gov't eyes.

    Ginger, Rubbish? You must be yet another Brit who wants to compare per capita offenses as compared to the U.S. rather than talk about the widely reported increase in violent crime. National crime levels fell slightly, but violent crime increased by 8% with 716,500 offences reported, including 588,800 offences against the person.....A spokesperson said: "Looking at our own referrals we have seen a rise in racist crime by 100%, violent crime we have noticed a 20% increase. And this in a country known for not even reporting a great deal of assault type crimes that go into the U.S. statistics because Brits, for some unknown reason, see nothing wrong with a guy merely having his teeth kicked in during a bar room brawl.

    I agree Kdog.... My main concern is the potential for abuse. I have a HUGE problem with getting traffic tickets in the mail because my car was seen violating some crime!

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:40:34 AM EST
    Traffic cameras are one of my beefs too BB. It's nearly impossible to argue with or dispute the findings of a machine. Not only because of the borrowed car scenario you mention, but who's to say the camera didn't go off a little early while the light was yellow? Or if the radar isn't calibrated properly for speeding? Not cool, and definitely not indicative of a "free" society.

    Okay, any cop will tell you that "yellow" doesn't mean "go faster". Not saying that the machines are infallible, just that they're proabably not out to get you and every other person who thinks that they should speed through a yellow light when they know they're not going to make it. Expecting privacy in public is dumb. Raise your hand if you just came back not too long ago from N'awlins, or have seen your daughter on Girls Gone Wild. Everyone has a camera, camera phone, camera watch, whatever, and you're complaining about the government doing the same thing for the public benefit instead of the public detriment?

    Ern.... I'm not so worried about the camera malfunctioning....but.... The way things are going, we'll all be living in that Tom Cruise movie (I forget the name) where they arrest for just thinking about it.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#23)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:40:20 PM EST
    you're complaining about the government doing the same thing for the public benefit
    That's where we differ, I don't think giving the gov't more power to spy on it's citizens is a "benefit". And I know yellow means "caution, light about to change". But what does that have to do with getting a ticket in the mail (that you cannot dispute), for merely lawfully driving through a yellow? I call that extortion, not a "public benefit".

    Kdog.. we are on the same side on this one. I would strongly fight any ticket I got this way!

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#25)
    by Che's Lounge on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 12:58:37 PM EST
    BB & Kdog, They put red lite cameras at one major intersection in my neighborhood about 6 months ago. Red lite running is down. Rear end collisions have soared at this intersection. In another test in San Diego a few years ago, the company that installed them set the timing wrong and hundreds of people received the tickets even though the camera was shooting "a bit early".

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 01:26:10 PM EST
    It's good to know some conservatives see the problem in expanded gov't surveillance BB. The potential abuse far outweighs any potential benefits. It's not that far a stretch to seeing cameras in public being used to harass people who simply "look suspicous". I'll protect myself from crime, thanks anyway....because I don't trust bueracracy.

    Washington DC is using an innovative approach to ensuring that tickets issued by these cameras are paid: the fine is reduced from $100 to $50 if the ticket is paid within a certain time period (usually two weeks) and no points to your license. Of course, you will never get on the docket in that time period, so if you choose to fight the ticket and lose, which you will since these machines are deemed perfect on all counts, you lose both ways.

    Che & Kdog... Rear end collisions have soared at this intersection. Not surprised. Look at what happened when the Government mandated air bags. Many people (mostly kids) died before they figured out how to deploy them properly. The Gov has a bad habit of overeacting before they think things through. hundreds of people received the tickets .. I would have been in court screaming! The bottom line here is that the government needs to stay out of our private lives as much as possible... Most 'conservatives' believe in that... IE - Less Government is better! As I said, gov't sponsored extortion. Most speed traps are just that!

    Illinois has passed 3 or 4 helmet laws and 'we the people' have gotten them repealed every time!!!

    In fact...I'm still pissed about the seat belt law!

    one more thing...(I'm on a roll now)... I also went out of my way (on several occasions) when I was in the Air Force to fight speeding tickets when some bonehead in Washington decided that we should all go 55MPH.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of legislation designed to save you from yourself. It drives me up the wall that I have an air bag in the right side of my car that I'm not allowed to turn off because I don't have government permission. Their answer is to tell me to put my kid in the back. Seat belt laws, helmet laws? Bah. Not that I'd ever get in a car without a seatbelt or ride a motorcycle without a helmet. I believe in the concept. But I don't think it's the government's job to keep you from hurting yourself.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#34)
    by Ray Radlein on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 10:53:05 PM EST
    The largely unaddressed question here is what was unique about the one location where the cameras did reduce the crime rate, and what can that tell us about how the cameras might be used more effectively? After all, whether you feel that the cameras are a scourge to individual liberties or a godsend to public order, you should certainly agree that a public camera which doesn't help fight crime is a bad thing (in the former case, of course, you would think that it is two bad things). The one place they said that cameras helped was in public car parks. What does that tell us, and how might we best apply that information? For one, the cameras were almost certainly mounted on the light poles in the parking lot (this brings up another question: Were the light poles put into place because of the cameras? If so, then the simple fact of improved lighting is probably responsible for the decrease in crime). They were, no doubt, plainly visible; were the other cameras? Being mounted on the light standards, they would have nearly ideal lighting conditions under which to operate. Was this true of the other cameras? And finally, was there something in the nature of crimes that typically take place in car parks that renders them especially vulnerable to these types of surveilance? If so, is there some lesson that can be drawn from that to modify the conditions under which other cameras are placed so as to make them more effective at fighting the types of crime in their areas? The "Big Brother" aspects of public cameras are certainly worth debating; and some uses — the great Ybor City experiment of a couple of years ago, for instance — are clearly beyond the pale; but in the meantime, it is obviously in everyone's best interests to make the cameras that are in use as effective as possible at their designated task of fighting crime, so that we can debate the issues involved with a clear understanding of what public benefits are possible from the cameras, and what benefits are not.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 02, 2005 at 11:41:46 PM EST
    The Gov has a bad habit of overeacting before they think things through
    Truer words have never been spoken. "Knee-jerk" must be in the job description for legislators. The citizenry shoulders part of the blame too though, too often we cry "do something about x" and we end up with solutions that are worse than the problems. Cameras in public applies. The majority of Citizens, I'm ashamed too say, are sheep who need to feel "safe" more than they need to be free. Not I, said the blind man.

    Blah. Ever think that some of these laws are meant to save you from OTHERS??? Ever been a pedestrian get hit by someone speeding through a light that has changed? Ever see a motorcyclist wearing no helmet get sideswiped by someone in a car not paying attention? Ever see a woman pull herself and her infant from a car she has just flipped while not wearing a seatbelt? Ever see someone get assulted and think "I hope someone is filming this"? I have. I suppose an even better question would be: What are you doing in public that is secretive anyway? Nothing illegal, I hope. And for the stretch-of-the-imagination people: Yes, arrested for pre-crimes, right after we get our flying cars, kinetic weapons, cryo-prisons. STOP WATCHING TELEVISION!!!

    To add: You are personally responsible for your vehicle. If it was used in a felony, it gets seized. If you are transporting contraband knowingly or not, if even someone else runs a light while using it, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE. Claming "I didn't know" is no viable excuse and never has been. Hey, here's an idea: Stop loaning your car out to people.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 06:03:09 AM EST
    That's where we differ Ern, I don't think it's the govt's job to protect me from myself or others. Any power we grant the gov't will be abused. Besides, the point of the post is that cameras do not reduce crime rates. What are people with your view so afraid of that they would grant the gov't an ever more imposing presence in our lives? All I want is to be left alone, and not be surveilled.

    justpaul. The quote said "British crime has been on the upswing for the last decade" You cite figures for one type of crime, for one year, four years ago. I cited the figures for the last ten years. I'm happy to admit that violent crime has been on the increase for the last few years - I've not got any Britain-great-America-bad agenda, I just couldn't allow a gross misstatement to go uncorrected. Certainly Britain has a serious violent crime problem.

    But my point was that it helps to prosecute crimes. And the only thing that I'm afraid of is that, instead of being arrested, these criminals will go out and assult/hit/steal again. And that brings me back to my last question which was: what are you doing that is so "private" in a public arena that you don't want filmed? ...and what's the difference some gvmt. employee who may or may not be filming down-blouse, and your average citizen doing the same thing? Never got a spam e-mail from the gov. about a website of women filmed secretly in the nude...

    Ginger, Fair enough. I should have specified that it is violent crime that has been on an upswing in the U.K. for the last decade, not all crime.

    But it hasn't. It's been on the up (according to reported crime statistics, not the BCS) for the last few years, after falling dramatically since the early nineties. And even the recent rise is somewhat questionable, since the Home Office estimates that the reporting rate for violent crime increased from 52% to 62% between 2002 and 2004. Even ignoring that, reported violent crime dropped by 36% since 1995. Here are the stats: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/recordedcrime1.html

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#43)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:32:06 AM EST
    Ah yes, the old "if you have nothing to hide" argument. I feel it is fundamentally flawed. I propose mandatory cavity searches for blog posters starting with the letter "E". You've got nothing to hide, right? I stand by my position, any gain in the ease of prosecuting criminals does not justify the potential for abuse. The difference between a gov't employee looking down a blouse and your average peeping tom is I'm not subsidizing the peeping tom. I feel the gov't needs (or should need) probable cause to tap your phone or stake out your house. The same standard should apply for video spying. Without probable cause of a crime, the gov't has no right to blanket, pre-emptive surveillance of it's citizenry. If this means it makes the job of prosecutors and police more difficult, so be it. Lots of our civil liberties impede the efforts of law enforcemnt and prosecutors, and rightly so.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#44)
    by Patrick on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 07:47:33 AM EST
    Kdog, Except that you have no right not to be filmed or caught on camera in public. THAT"S THE DEFINITION OF THE WORD...You want to hide, stay in private, and I'll support keeping the cameras out of your private space. Until someone can show me a valid violation of a reasonable expectation of privacy (Not using the camera to look down a blouse, and if the camera can look up a skirt either it or the skirt wearer are in the wrong place) The I will reconsider my position. Problem is you can't because it's in PUBLIC....

    Ginger, Yes, it has gone up. I've read the Home Office reports. I've also read the media, as in: A new study suggests the use of handguns in crime rose by 40% in the two years after the weapons were banned. Gun crime has risen by 35% in a year, new Home Office figures show. There were 9,974 incidents involving firearms in the 12 months to April 2002 - a rise from 7,362 over the previous year. Overall crime in the year to September was up 9.3%, with domestic burglary up 7.9%, drugs offences up 12.3% and sex offences up 18.2%. It found that a firearms offence was committed once every five hours in the six days after Danielle’s death, with at least 31 gun crimes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland between Saturday and Thursday. Handgun use rose by 45 per cent, said official Government statistics. The figure has doubled since the post-Dunblane ban on such weapons from 2,636 in 1998 to 5,871. Total crime in England and Wales is up 9.3 per cent. Last year, 3,685 crimes were committed by perpetrators armed with illegal handguns, including 43 murders, 310 attempted murders and 2,561 robberies, according to Home Office figures released to parliament. It is the highest number in seven years. In fact gun crime has grown ever since legislation was passed in the wake of the Dunblane killings prohibiting gun ownership. In 1998 there were 9 fatal shootings in London, the following year that figure had more than doubled to 20. Thereafter each year has seen a steady rise in the number of shootings, but only now, 5 years later, has the mainstream media decided to tell us. And only after they were forced to acknowledge the problem after high profile shootings. I'm also aware that violent crime saw a minor downturn in one recent 12 month period, but even that was based more on cherry picking the specific 12 months (March-March? Whatever happened to calendar years?)

    Seriously, kdog. Who is talking about cavity searches and unwarranted phone taps? THOSE are invasions of privacy. My question, once again, is in regard to an expectation of privacy IN PUBLIC. IN PUBLIC you have NO PRIVACY.

    The reason the gov protects us from ourselves is that it is less costly for society to require seat belts than deal with the carnage. Who's going to wipe your head off the pavement if your'e on a bike w/o a helmet and crash? As for the "prying eyes" of the government, I expect cops on the beat are not about to try to avoid observing people in public. If they want to memorialize what they observe on video, I'm for that; a video is more trustworthy than even a cop's testimony, if you get my drift.

    Ginger, Thanks for the link, but I think you need to spend a little more time reading the actual numbers and less time reading the Home Office summary of them. Open up the Excel spreadsheet on crime stats available on the site you provided a URL for. Look at the numbers: Homicides: 1994 = 726 1995 = 745 1996 = 679 1997 = 739 1997-98 = 748 1998-99 = 750 1999-2000 = 766 2000-01 = 850 2001-02 = 891 2002-03 = 1048 Increase of 44% Attempted murder: 1994 = 651 1995 = 634 1996 = 674 1997 = 652 1997-98 = 661 1998-99 = 676 1999-2000 = 750 2000-01 = 708 2001-02 = 857 2002-03 = 818 Increase of 25% Threats or Conspiracy to Murder 1994 = 6844 1995 = 7044 1996 = 8533 1997 = 9340 1997-98 = 9661 1998-99 = 11112 1999-2000 = 13434 2000-01 = 14064 2001-02 = 13662 2002-03 = 18068 Increase of 163% Car Jackings Involving Death: 1994 = 14 1995 = 21 1996 = 34 1997 = 12 1997-98 = 18 1998-99 = 30 1999-2000 = 37 2000-01 = 35 2001-02 = 35 2002-03 = 55 Increase of 292% Wounding or Other Acts of Endangering Life: 1994 = 11033 1995 = 10445 1996 = 12169 1997 = 12531 1997-98 = 12833 1998-99 = ~13982 (I averaged the two numbers) 1999-2000 = 15135 2000-01 = 15662 2001-02 = 16556 2002-03 = 17882 Increase of 62% Now where exactly do you see a 35% DECREASE in violent crime?

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#49)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 08:26:16 AM EST
    Ok then , maybe the right to privacy does not apply. Can we agree we have a right to be free from gov't surveillance when probable cause is not present? You all seem a little too willing to give the gov't carte blanche. Beeing seen by your neighbors and fellow citizens is one thing, the gov't having a permanent record of your where abouts is quite another. A few hypotheticals...Suppose the Kansas DA we've heard about had access to surveillance tapes outside a clinic, and then harassed women caught on tape who used the clinic. Or some dirty cop uses a surveillance tape taken outside a strip club to extort somebody. Or some bored camera opereator zooms into your backyard to tape you skinnydipping or sunbathing. I am the only one who sees the potential for abuse? It's not worth it.

    Not a single one of those statistics has any bearing on the fact that violent crime fell 36% between 1995 and 2004 according to the BCS . It's on page 78 of the pdfed Home Office report I linked to. Recorded violent crime has increased, but, and I quote, " In contrast, police recorded violent crime figures show substantial increases in recent years, almost double the number in 1998/99 following changes to the counting rules in that year requiring the police to record crimes of common assault and harassment for the first time. Factoring out the effect of the 1998 counting rule changes, recorded violent crime increased by a further 95 per cent between 1995 and 2003/04. About a quarter of this is due to increases in recording of violent crime following the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002. The remainder of the increase is likely to be largely due to increased reporting of violent crime by the public, increased police activity and other improvements in recording by the police in previous years" Some of that is obviously Home Office spin, but not all. Also, gun crime is a tiny fraction of violent crime in the UK. That doesn't make the increase in gun crime any less alarming, of course, but the chances of being a victim of gun crime are in absolute terms minimal. For what it's worth, I'd like to add that I have been living on the edge of one of the roughest estates in London for the last year and a half, and the only crime-related incidents I've experienced was being stopped by the police because I looked like someone who had driven off after being pulled over, and a smashed up telephone box.

    Not a single one of those statistics has any bearing on the fact that violent crime fell 36% between 1995 and 2004 according to the BCS . Of course not! Violent crime hasn't fallen 36%, it has risen. The numbers do not lie, Ginger. Every one of those categories is a category of violent crime. The numbers clearly go up. The fact that the Home Office turns around and fudges their words to make you feel better about where you live does not change the fact that you have seen a significant increase in murders, assaults, car jackings, and beatings over the past decade. I'm sorry if you can't live with that fact (although I sincerely hope that will be only in the figurative sense). Yes, they changed the accounting rules, but even your own quote says that, taking that change into account, "recorded violent crime increased by a further 95 per cent between 1995 and 2003/04." They then try to play this off by making more unsubstantiated claims about a tidal wave of people suddenly coming forward to report crimes they wouldn't have before. It's ALL Home Office spin. And let me ask you this, Ginger. If, as the Home Office and you claim, the entire apparent increase is due to the new reporting rules and a sudden willingness to report crimes, how do they prove it? By their own logic, many crimes were being committed but not reported prior to 1998 or 2002 (depending on which argument you are using), so how do they put a number on them that then leads you to your magic 36% reduction?

    Suppose I or you use video footage of ANYONE doing ANYTHING to harrass or extort them. It's an illegal act, no matter who is doing it. Like some cop or gov. official is more likely to get away with it??? Sure there is potential for abuse. There is potential for abuse in every situation, regardless of who is in control. And since when is going to a clinic or a strip club illegal? All one would have is footage of someone going in and/or out. Also, permanent is a relative term when it comes to video logs. Most places, besides casinos I believe, destroy or copy over data after a period of 1 month. Once again, what makes you so special that someone is going to feel the need to exploit your public actions?

    Because, for the umpteenth time, you're talking about recorded crime figures and I'm talking about British Crime Survey figures. I've repeatedly said that recorded crime has gone up, although the exact amount it has risen is hard to gauge because of the problems with reporting and recording. Also, the statistics you cite don't include common assault, which is far and away the most common form of violent crime. The BCS is far from perfect, mainly because it excludes certain categories of crime, including those against children and murders. But for things like assault, which are rarely reported to the police, it is much more accurate.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#55)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 09:46:39 AM EST
    “Not a single one of those statistics has any bearing on the fact that violent crime fell 36% between 1995 and 2004 according to the BCS . It's on page 78 of the pdfed Home Office report I linked to” What the report show is that ‘violent incidents’ (using incidents and crime interchangeably) have fallen by 36%, further 52% of all violent incidents/crime did not result in any injury to the victim. The USDOJ defines violent crimes as “rape, sexual assault, personal robbery or assault; both attempted and completed (note this excludes murder)’ while the BCS has a very wide range of crimes, of course including the big three and others as esoteric as illegal procurement of abortion, racial/religious harassment, concealment of a pregnancy, buggery, etc. The USDOJ reports that around 25% of violent crimes, by their definition, result in personal injury (excluding murder). I think the problem involves sorting out the property crimes; apples and oranges. If I have time today I might compare the big three (murder, assault, rape) in the US & UK.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#57)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 11:15:46 AM EST
    I acknowledged that public gov't spy cameras probably do not violate any written right to privacy. I'm not a lawyer and I'm not versed in the legalese of the matter. I still think it's an invasion of our right to live free from gov't surveillance, but that's opinion I guess, not law. We caught murderers before gov't spy cameras, and we can continue to catch them without them. We can give up numerous other rights and catch even more. I'd prefer to live in an open free society, even if someone gets away with murder on occasion. It's a trade off I'm willing to make. Totalitarian regimes have a great record on crime, is that what we want here? We will have to agree to disagree on this. I feel the slope of public spy cameras is especially slippery. The founding fathers were concerned about the abuse of gov't power, we should be too. A slightly more dangerous, yet extremely free existence is well worth it.

    Ginger, I'm going to assume that last anonymous post was from you since it seems to be in direct response to mine which was addressed to you. Your argument has not been that I'm arguing one set of numbers and you are arguing another (if so, show me where you said that because I missed it): Your argument has been that violent crime has not gone up, and I say it has. As for your numbers: They support my position. Every recognizable class of violent crime in those numbers has seen a significant increase in the past decade. The fact that the Home Office tries to spin this out to be something else on page 79 or page 87 is irrelevant. Look at the data, not at the verbiage. As for Also, the statistics you cite don't include common assault, which is far and away the most common form of violent crime. That too supports my claim, as it indicates that there is even more violent crime than those stats show (and by the way, Ginger, their YOUR stats, from the site YOU provided, not my stats). If you're trying to claim that this particular form of violent crime is down while every other form is up, okay, prove it. Show me what this 36% decrease you claim is based on. Do you have the actual data to back that up or is this just another factoid you pulled from that same self-serving Home Office analysis without bothering to review the actual numbers? This isn't about one source vs. another, Ginger, and spinning it that way won't make your argument any more valid. I'm using the numbers you provided. If you meant to provide a different set of numbers, so be it. Provide them. The truth is that violent crime is up in the U.K. over the last decade. The Home Office is spinning this fact as best it can to make it seem like it's doing a better job than it is. Welcome to the real world. This is the way crime stats have been cranked out for years, and that is why you have to look at the actual hard numbers, not some statitistician's analysis of them with pie charts.

    Aaargh. It was me. And it is about one source over another, as I've made very clear throughout. One source has violent crime going down, the other has it going up, although in one post I did mistake the two sources, for which I apologise. Here I am pointing out the sources, in case you're wondering: Quote: "Overall crime has fallen by 39% since 1995, according to the British Crime Survey." Quote: "(according to reported crime statistics, not the BCS)" Quote: "violent crime fell 36% between 1995 and 2004 according to the BCS . It's on page 78 of the pdfed Home Office report I linked to. Recorded violent crime has increased" Here we go, one more time. The Home Office crime report always includes two sets of figures: the British Crime Survey, which is a household survey of around 40,000 people's experience of a selection of crimes, and the police's figures for recorded crime. Each set of figures has their own problems - the BCS excludes many types of crime, while police figures are subject to political manipulation and the public's failure to report crimes. Violent crime has a very low reporting rate, hence for those categories that are included, the BCS is generally considered more reliable. I'm really not trying to have a standup row here, despite appearances. I originally took exception to the blatantly false assertion that British crime in general had been "on the upswing for the past decade", when precisely the opposite is true. Violent crime is the big exception in the recorded figures, though as the BCS and the change in recording methodology suggests, even that is questionable to a degree. But again, I'm not trying to deny that violent crime has been increasing in the last few years.

    Re: Report: Surveillance Cameras Do Not Stop Crime (none / 0) (#60)
    by pigwiggle on Thu Mar 03, 2005 at 05:33:00 PM EST
    justpaul, ginger- Read my 10:46 post. You must define violent crime before you can argue about it. Right?