Ramblings & ephemera

CCTV in the UK deters crime

From Technology Review‘s “Big Brother Logs On“:

In many ways, the drama of pervasive surveillance is being played out first in Orwell’s native land, the United Kingdom, which operates more closed-circuit cameras per capita than any other country in the world. This very public surveillance began in 1986 on an industrial estate near the town of King’s Lynn, approximately 100 kilometers north of London. Prior to the installation of three video cameras, a total of 58 crimes had been reported on the estate. None was reported over the next two years. In 1995, buoyed by that success, the government made matching grants available to other cities and towns that wanted to install public surveillance cameras – and things took off from there. …

And not many argue about surveillance’s ability to deter crime. Recent British government reports cite closed-circuit TV as a major reason for declining crime rates. After these systems were put in place, the town of Berwick reported that burglaries fell by 69 percent; in Northampton overall crime decreased by 57 percent; and in Glasgow, Scotland, crime slumped by 68 percent. Public reaction in England has been mixed, but many embrace the technology. …

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