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Does Having CCTV Reduce Crime?

Does Having CCTV Reduce Crime?

CCTV is one of the most commonly used ways of discouraging would-be thieves from both domestic and commercial properties. That’s because it is generally perceived as being one of the most effective security systems available.  

But does the evidence back up the theory? In other words, is there any data that would confirm the idea that CCTV actually does reduce crime?

This article will examine the facts to determine whether CCTV cameras do prevent crime, and if so, why and how they do it.

How effective is CCTV? The evidence

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In 2013, the College of Policing published the results of a study that suggested that across a variety of settings, CCTV could be shown to have been responsible for a ‘statistically significant’ reduction in crime. The overall figure for all crimes was 13% less than without them, with vehicle and property crime dropping by 14%. The biggest drop (20%) was for drug-related crimes.

This study further suggested that CCTV has been shown to be most effective in locations where there is good coverage, with car parks in particular rating very highly as benefiting from their use.

Another report, in the International Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice (2021), produced even more positive results, with figures for the UK of 34% less property crime and 32% less vehicle crime as a direct result of using CCTV cameras.

In 2017, meanwhile, the Co-op talked to 25 former domestic burglars about the security measures that put them off going ahead with a crime – 26% cited motion-sensitive security lighting, with 22% saying that CCTV would put them off. That’s the sort of first-hand testimony that can give real peace of mind to property owners of any kind.

Why is CCTV such an effective deterrent?

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There are a number of reasons that CCTV is such a popular and effective tool against criminals of all kinds. These include:

  • An increased chance of the criminal being caught – because modern CCTV cameras produce high-quality footage that can be stored for as long as it is needed, they can be used to positively identify thieves caught in the act (and the more thieves who are actually caught, the more others will avoid the risk of being caught)
  • An increased perception on the part of the criminal that they might get caught – just seeing those cameras is enough to deter many potential thieves from their plan of action
  • Conversely, CCTV cameras give members of the public more confidence, leading them to use areas that it might otherwise have been wiser to avoid – and as more people feel confidence in an area, so it will be less tempting or secure for any thieves to ply their trade there

Modern CCTV systems

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CCTV has been known to be effective for years – in 2015, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe suggested that every home and business could benefit from their use. But advances in technology are making them better all the time, so that now it’s possible to choose from a range of options to suit different requirements.

These include:

  • General CCTV offering higher resolution images than ever before 
  • ANPR vehicle recognition cameras that can read a vehicle license plate and compare it against a database for security purposes
  • Thermal CCTV that can pick up the body heat of an intruder in the dark and convert it into a visible picture
  • Facial recognition CCTV that can compare and identify faces from a database, even when partially covered
  • IP cameras that allow you to control and monitor your security from anywhere in the world

Here at Scutum South East, we’re leading suppliers of all kinds of CCTV security systems to businesses and other organisations across London, Surrey and the rest of the South East. We’re part of one of Europe’s biggest security specialists and have the experience, tools and knowledge to help create the most effective security system for your business.

Get in touch with us now to find out more.

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About Scutum South East

Scutum South East is a leading expert in fire safety and security solutions for businesses and organisations located across South East England, including London and Surrey.

From fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire risk assessments to access control, CCTV and intruder alarm systems – and a lot more besides – we offer a comprehensive range of products and services designed to keep you, your business and your staff and visitors safe.

With decades of industry experience to call on, we’re proud to hold accreditations from leading trade associations and bodies such as British Approvals for Fire Equipment (BAFE), the British Fire Consortium, the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).

If you’d like to find out more about Scutum South East, get in touch with our friendly team or explore our products and services on our site.