CCTV is not the 1984 Utopia

  Quickbeam 06:47 06 May 2008

we thought it would be click here In our town there is practically nowhere that CCTV monitoring is not covering you, yet people behave with impunity in their presence.

  laurie53 07:00 06 May 2008

Can be a help in some cases.

We had a guy arrested for vandalising the town Christmas tree.

CCTV showed that the wind was the guilty party!

  Monoux 08:03 06 May 2008

Probably impossible to quantify but I wonder how much crime has been prevented by cameras being around i.e. the deterent effect

  numskull 08:09 06 May 2008

I once witnessed a work colleague's car being broken into, by two young chaps in the car park opposite my workplace. I contacted City Security who operate the CCTV cameras hoping they could film the two guys leaving the car park. Cutting a longer story short, I rang back asking if the police had been called? The reply was, "We did not see anything, ring the police yourself!"

  Cymro. 10:59 06 May 2008

There are probably many instances especially with minor crime when CCTV is of very little if any use but it was used very successfully in tracing terrorist bombers in London recently?.

  €dstowe 11:14 06 May 2008

Has nobody considered the lack of success of CCTV might correlate with the great increase in the wearing of face/head covering clothes - "hoodies" etc?

  georgemac © 11:15 06 May 2008

Been listening to the debate on Radio 5 Live.

It has been used successfully on some high profile crimes to secure convictions, and has also been used to prove innocence in some cases, where people have been wrongly accused.

Some of the reasons it is not so effective as it should be is because the police don't use the material correctly, and some officers find it boring reviewing tapes.

One Chief Constable suggested technology would improve with things like face recognition software, but this should be a specialised area, where people with a good eye for detail and who enjoy this type of task are employed specifically for this (like the old fingerprint experts). He made a lot of sense.

Our town has none, and I for one would be happier if it did in town centre.

Private CCTV from a neighbours house was used successfully to convict the young thugs who murdered Gary Newlove outside his house. Without this evidence, it suggested a conviction may not have been obtained.

  €dstowe 11:37 06 May 2008

Another reason for the apparent failure of CCTV is the appalling definition of the images produced. OK, don't expect broadcast quality but in some of the pictures shown on news programmes etc. it is difficult to determine that the subject is human, never mind being able to identify.

  interzone55 13:01 06 May 2008

You've hit the nail on the head, a lot of CCTV is in what is called CIF resolution, this is 352 x 288, on top of this, quite a lot of systems multiplex the images on vhs tape, so you only get about one crappy image a second.

New systems can record full digital images onto hard disc at resolutions up to and beyond full HD. the problem is that whilst modern IP CCTV cameras are not that expensive, they take a lot of network bandwidth and vast amounts of storage.

I'm working with a town centre at the moment, they want to convert 160 cameras to digital storage, just to hold 30 days footage we'll be using almost 250 terabytes of storage, and this is only using 704 x 576 resolution, when we bring mega pixel cameras into the mix next year that storage requirement will balloon.

A lot of new installations make use of analytics, these look for things like stationary vehicles outside banks, or bags left in train stations. Analytics like this are being used in more and more systems as a way to leverage existing CCTV systems to provide better protection from intruders and terrorists.

As a side note, despite the fact that the average person will be seen by upwards of 100 CCTV cameras every day, less than 10% of footage is every viewed by a human, the rest is just recorded over when the disc is full

  robgf 13:30 06 May 2008

CCTV footage does result in some convictions.
Our local shop has an excellent system and after a gang of a dozen, or so youths rampaged through the shop stealing goods. The police reviewed the tape and arrested the shopkeeper, for threatening the youths with his walking stick.
He later got a fine of several hundred pounds.

I visited the shop just after it had happened and the gang was still outside, eating their booty. The police were present, but as usual, were just trying to be friends with them.
None of the gang was arrested, or even cautioned.

  spuds 15:27 06 May 2008

A couple of years ago, our council decides to replace and upgrade their CCTV presence in the local shopping area, all at great expense.

After the contractors left, people began to wonder why the new increased CCTV was not acting as a deterrent to the youths congregating in the area. Apparently the youths had realised that the cameras had not been wired up, and as such were not acting as a deterrent.

Usual case of Council blaming the contractors, and the contractors stating that it was not part of the contract to provide wiring or connect to the control room. Whoops, council finished the work, and we are still wondering how the original job got signed off!!.

Another example of possible incompetence. The council decided to install a 'Mosquito' device within the area of complaints, and within a few weeks the device had be removed, because it was against the Human Rights of the people within a certain age group, who were having bad experiences with their hearing.

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