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oratio's avatar

[Crime] Has the CCTV system made the UK safer?

Asked by oratio (8870 points ) January 19th, 2010

I now and then read about the surveillance, automatic face recognition systems and automatic number plate recognition and then again it doesn’t seem to affect crime much, and I am not sure about if it really helps prevent terrorism.

I am not sure where to stand on this. Some people do get caught with this technology.
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• Is the UK safer with it? Is it just taking away the privacy of people? Is it more damaging than helpful? Is it worth it?

What do you think?

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15 Answers

Pcrecords's avatar

no is the very simple answer.

Pcrecords's avatar

Its a shocking state of affairs that the CCTV system in the UK observes each individual on average 150 times a day, most people hide behind the “if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear” mantra but its actually a horrid spiral into perfectly innocent peoples privacy, including an admission recently that people had been arrested simply to build DNA databases. Awful behaviour.

dogcatman's avatar

I’d rather put myself at risk and maybe die as a result than give away all my liberties . Plus no, there are normally no one on the other end and without instant action against the perpetrator they normally don’t care.

dogcatman's avatar

@Pcrecords
That has to be one of the worse saying ever “if you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear” Might as well let police check your whole house and you personally from top to bottom whenever because you know you’ve got nothing to fear if you’ve got nothing to hide.

Snarp's avatar

My gut answer is no, but this kind of thing is incredibly hard to come up with reliable numbers on. Face recognition doesn’t work very well, and the only way to stop a crime with a camera is to have a huge number of cops on standby everywhere and have someone actively watching every camera feed, which is highly unlikely.

There may be some deterrent effect, but mostly on crimes like ATM or store robberies, not for getting mugged in a back alley.

kevbo's avatar

Personally, I think it’s very weird that you all have so many cameras. We have them in my city to prevent speeding and the running of red lights at intersections, which I’m not happy with either, but it has reduced car crashes.

To me, it says a lot that these cameras conveniently fail when filming terrorists (a la 7/7), but at least they’re protecting you all from aliens.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I think it will require years to determine if CCTV in public areas will lead to the solution of crimes and the identification of otherwise hidden terrorist cells. I abhor abuses of the system. One problem is that public announcement of the successes of such a system in use might undermine its future effectiveness. Undercover investigations work best when their successes are not announced publicly.

For all who feel threatened by being seen in public doing ordinary things, please explain how this actually has diminished the quality of life for you.

If you have evidence of abuses, bring them forward and inform others.

Conspiracy theories are not facts.

For Americans, your privacy in your own homes, and on your telephones, libraries, and on the internet disappeared under the Bush/Cheney administration and hardly anybody cared or protested. Why be indignant now about CCTV in public places? I presented extensive references about erosion of individuals rights in a recent thread.

kevbo's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence, you have a point, but for better or worse, the public can’t see phone taps. Personally, I gave up on Obama when he voted to continue these kinds of privacy incursions vis a vis FISA and when he tolerated the arrest of journalists and detainment of protesters at the Democratic National Convention.

The answer to why be indignant now is that this is the question we’re addressing. I guess I see your point, though because I feel the same about Haiti—why be indignant now?

If you’re conspiracy comment is directed at me, it is a fact that there is no footage of the 7/7 terrorists doing their thing because the cameras malfunctioned. If you want to believe that was accidental, be my guest. I don’t think it was.

Snarp's avatar

@Dr_Lawrence Not “hardly anybody”. I protested. Millions of others protested too. Millions more voted for a president we hoped would change these policies. It is only the politicians afraid of losing votes for being “soft on terror” who don’t care or protest. We can still be indignant about cameras.

mattbrowne's avatar

A little safer, but maybe not enough to justify the measures.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

@kevbo For the record: I meant no reference to you whatsoever. I was speaking generally.

kevbo's avatar

Thanks, and no worries. It’s all in a day’s Fluther. ;-)

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Perhaps I should have said “far too few” instead of “hardly anybody”
In addition, the Bush White House may have suppressed coverage of the protests, a widespread practice during that administration whenever “W” was to appear in front of carefully selected subsets of the ‘public’.

nebule's avatar

@kevbo oh crikey! x

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