The Presence of a “CCTV Camera”
In 2011 it was estimated there could be as many as 1.85 million cameras in the UK, with a population of over 63 million that equates to around one CCTV camera for every 35 people, surely making them difficult to ignore! (“CCTV UK” 2011) CCTV surveillance has become common place in our everyday lives, to such an extent that many of us don’t even notice it any more. Or do we? Have we reached a point where we expect CCTV? Particularly in public places, bars, restaurants, even at work, and does this mean that we act differently because of it?
Mansfield District Council reported that one CCTV Camera reduced Anti-Social Behaviour by over 97.6%!
The presence of CCTV certainly seems to be affecting levels of anti-social behaviour. Take for example a recent article on anti-social behaviour in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. At a car park on Barringer Road and shops on Ravensdale Road more than 1,500 incidents had been reported in only 3 years. That’s an average of 42 incidents a month! These high levels of anti-social behaviour were not only causing residents in the area distress, but were actually making people avoid the car park and shops all together.
Finally in February this year Mansfield District Council decided to install a CCTV camera at the junction of the roads, and as a result in a period of 4 months, only 4 incidents occurred!
Of these 4, interventions were made and when relevant, arrests and prosecutions. Neighbourhood warden team leader Lorraine Dryden said: “It is a vital tool in helping police to identify those committing criminal and anti-social acts by providing evidential support.” (“Mansfield CCTV” 2014)
This means that the presence of the CCTV camera alone reduced antisocial behaviour in the area by a massive 97.6%! And of the remaining 2.4% the Council were able to use the camera’s footage to take the appropriate action.
So is just the presence of a CCTV camera enough to fight crime or do they need to be recording events?
It is probably fair to conclude from this example that the presence of a CCTV camera can work positively to reduce crime. In Mansfield, prosecutions were quickly made so the perpetrators were aware that they had been recorded, and fast action to secure a conviction should have a reinforcing positive effect on fighting crime in that area.
However, it is difficult to say that if the CCTV camera was not recording and no convictions had ensued, whether the virtual disappearance in anti-social behaviour in the area would have continued in the longer term.
What can we learn from this example?
In this case, it would be fair to conclude that Mansfield Council would be able to widen the positive effect of CCTV by enhancing their operational CCTV cameras with a number of decoy or dummy cameras. Provided that follow up action was taken when incidents did happen this should prove a sufficient enough warning to show that they mean business in their fight against crime.
With realistic looking decoy or dummy CCTV cameras costing around 10% of the cost of a working CCTV camera, it is well worth enhancing the effect of any CCTV system with them. Here are a few of my recommendations when considering which decoy cameras to buy:
Fit the right decoy for the environment – don’t fit an internal dome outdoors
Ideally match to the style of your working cameras – fit dummy eyeballs with working eyeballs
Added authenticity – Look for models with cabled leads for extra authenticity
Self-Powered – Models with solar panels are an easy installation and have the added advantage of having built in LEDs
Wireless design – If you’re working cameras are wirefree then choose your dummy cameras to match
Remember just because they are not working CCTV cameras, don’t skimp on the quality and your investment will be rewarded.