Tuesday, 19 October 2010

CCTV's Role in Reducing Crime

It is very good news that crime has been reduced so much on the Bestwood Estate. The BBC are reporting police figures showing a 46% drop in crimes in the area. Somebody is clearly doing something right.

NCC routinely claims that CCTV is some sort of panacea against crime so you'd presume that it has played a significant role in the reduction of crime in Bestwood. And yet Bestwood has one of the lowest rates of CCTV implementation in the city, with just 4 cameras at the least count.

Radford & Park  and Dales wards have the highest numbers of CCTV installed. Radford & Park did see significant drops in dwelling burglary and violent crime between 2007-8 (-20.6% and -10.1%) but Dales saw increases in both (+14.6% and +0.2%). By far the highest incidence of violent crime is in Bridge Ward (mostly the Meadows) but this area is way down the league tables of CCTV provision, surely if the powers that be had any real faith in CCTV's use in crime prevention then Bridge Ward would be a veritable forest of the things.

Now I do appreciate that I'm not comparing like with like here and to tell the truth I have nowhere near the skills to carry out a proper analysis of the relationship between CCTV and crime prevention. But proper research has been done and the case is far from convincing. For me, a layman's view of the above doesn't inspire me with confidence that NCC's CCTV strategy is doing much to cut crime. Bearing in mind the cost (c £8m between 2004-9) we need to work out whether they're just not doing it right or it just doesn't work.


Anonymous said...

You actually think the City Council has a CCTV strategy?

They just bung them up where councillors or their mates shout loudest.

Like the police helicopter, they work when they work and then everyone loves them but how do they perform on a value for money test (in terms, perhaps, of arrests per £ of expenditure)compared with the same amount being spent on police officers, youth workers or some other more human 'crime prevention' methods?

Has anyone ever done those calculations I wonder?

Andy said...

Heh! Yeah, I think I should have put the word strategy between some hefty inverted commas there.

As I've mentioned before, high numbers of CCTV seem to coincide with large numbers of BME residents and the recent installation in Forest Fields seemed to have been designed to keep an eye on the Mosque.

perhaps not so much of a strategy, more of an agenda.