CCTVs Role in Fighting Crime

With yet another late night Armed Robbery at a local convenience store, I questioned why the rise in Robberies in an otherwise steamily quiet suburban town in Brisbane and secondly does CCTV really prevent crime?

Crime seems to be on the rise yet Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems are becoming increasingly common in homes, in shops, in pubs and clubs, in Schools and Universities, on public transport, in car parks and a variety of other environments.

Big Brother really is watching!

A CCTV System is not a physical barrier, does not limit access to an area or property, and does not make a person more difficult to rob or assault nor does it make an object or property harder to steal.

So what purpose is CCTV intended to play in Crime prevention?

Firstly CCTV is a deterrent.

The effectiveness of this is somewhat ambiguous and depends on a variety of facts such as The Management and Operation of The System, The location installed and what Crime is targeted.

CCTV ultimately seeks to change the offenders perception that if he or she commits the crime they will be caught, increasing the risk of capture. The Offender however must be aware of the presence of the cameras and believe the risk of capture out weights the rewards of the intended crime.

Secondarily The Footage is utilised to make an arrest and conviction

Police in all states throughout Australia rely heavily upon footage collected from CCTV Cameras when investigating crimes and there are numerous examples of where recordings has been utilised to aid in the conviction of an offender.

However there are often issues of image quality when assessing evidence. There are many different types of CCTV Systems and quality varies significantly. As an example some Cameras still in use today record in Black and White, whist others record still frames at intermittent times. Many CCTV Systems in homes and small business are purchased on-line and installed as a DIY (Do It Yourself) Kit.

Poor quality images are problematic from both a prosecution and defences perspective and often such evidence is deemed to be inadmissible and cannot be presented in Court.

A Professional CCTV System must incorporate and take into account a number of considerations and factors such as; Placement of The Cameras, Number of Cameras, Camera Types, Analogue vs Digital Cameras, Fixed or Wireless Cameras, Lenses, Resolution, Storage Requirements, Compression ratios, Remote Viewing, Monitoring, Network Requirements, Lighting, Environmental factors, etc.

There unfortunately is no “One Size Fits All” solution when it comes to CCTV.

The use of CCTV Systems carefully planned, implemented and integrated by a professional Security Advisor and Installer combined with a variety of other crime prevention measures is strongly recommended and has been proven to be effective in minimising a variety of criminal activities.

Ray Turner

Director – Ray Turner Technologies