Surveillance

Does surveillance equipment help reduce crime?

Background Information

The word surveillance means to closely observe someone or something. Surveillance of the American people has increased since the 9/11 attacks. This topic is controversial in today's world. There are many types of surveillance equipment such as video cameras and various kinds of equipment that intercept information through electronics like internet traffic or phone calls.
“Before Sept. 11, the idea that Americans would voluntarily agree to live their lives under the gaze of a network of biometric surveillance cameras, peering at them in government buildings, shopping malls, subways and stadiums, would have seemed unthinkable, a dystopian fantasy of a society that had surrendered privacy and anonymity.” ― Jeffrey Rosen

Pros

  • In 2010, in Newark, New Jersey, video cameras witnessed a shootout in an alley. Police saw the shootout happen on video and were able to dispatch officers to arrest the gunmen and take them to the hospital.
  • Closed Circuit Television doesn't limit what the video monitor sees to a certain location. In other words, the camera can move to give a better view. This can stop many crimes from happening.
  • Video surveillance is often very clear and accurate. The camera can see faces very clearly which will help identify criminals and make arrests.
  • Even when fake cameras are put on buses, crime is often reduced. This means that when people see cameras, they think before they do something bad.
  • Humboldt Park, Chicago is a example of a city where a lot of crimes were committed. They used to have nearly 500 reported incidents of crime in a single month. In an attempt to help with crime, cameras were put in place and crime dropped 20 percent the following month and stayed low.
  • When the Russian planed crashed in Egypt in October 2015, the authorities were asked to hand over any crime evidence. The security tapes have been used as they attempt to figure out who was responsible for the crash.

Cons

  • Putting up video cameras can take away the number of officers on the streets. If there are cameras everywhere,what's the need for police officers? This could be bad because crimes that are not caught on camera won't be stopped.
  • Even if there are security cameras and police see the crime happening they might not get there in time to stop what is happening.
  • Drones haven't been used successfully to stop crime at this time. The first and only known use of a drone in the arrest of a U.S. citizen occurred in December 2011 in North Dakota.
  • When someone is suspected of a crime, video equipment can be used to track what they do. If the wrong person is targeted, the crime isn't being solved and someones privacy is being invaded.
  • "Meta-analyses (studies that average the results of multiple studies) in the UK show that video surveillance has no statistically significant impact on crime. Preliminary studies on video surveillance systems in the US show little to no positive impact on crime." (ACLU)
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Personal Story

The Abduction of Carlesha Freeland- Gaither (Philadelphia, November 2014)

A sidewalk camera caught a man following a girl, grabbing her and man-handlng her into his car. The video camera caught this on tape and was used to help find the girl and bring her home safely. Police in Virginia recognized the man in the surveillance video as a suspect in a similar case.

Conclusion

After doing my research, I have come to the conclusion that surveillance equipment doesn't help reduce crime. During my research I couldn't find any statistics that proved that crime was reduced because of surveillance equipment, so that gave me the idea that there was no real consistent proof. Statistics show that surveillance equipment does not consistently reduce crime, although cameras do not help stop crime, they can be helpful to catch criminals.

Bibliography

Works Cited

American Civil Liberties Union. "Surveillance Equipment Does Not Reduce Crime." Crime and Criminals. Ed. Christina Fisanick. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "D.C. Video Cameras vs. Live Community Police in Our Neighborhoods." Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

Ante, Spencer E. "Surveillance Equipment Helps Reduce Crime." Crime and Criminals. Ed. Christina Fisanick. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2010. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Newark and the Future of Crime Fighting." Business Week (25 Aug. 2008). Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Belsie, Laurent. "Public Surveillance Cameras Violate Privacy." Civil Liberties. Ed. Roman Espejo. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "The eyes have it-for now." The Christian Science Monitor. 2002. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

"Center for Problem-Oriented Policing." Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

Edwards, John. "Public Surveillance Cameras Increase Security." Civil Liberties. Ed. Roman Espejo. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2009. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "The Unblinking Eye." Electronic Design 55 (27 Apr. 2007): 38-40. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

Mulrine, Anna. "Drones over America: Public Safety Benefit or 'Creepy' Privacy Threat?" Domestic Surveillance. Ed. Tamara Thompson. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press, 2015. At Issue. Rpt. from "Drones over America: Public Safety Benefit or 'Creepy' Privacy Threat?" www.csmonitor.com. 2013. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 8 Dec. 2015.

N.d. A Distributed Surveillance System. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.cse.unr.edu/~zehang/research/Surveillance/>.

Nelson, Graham. "7 Chilling Crimes That Were Solved Thanks To Surveillance Cameras." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

1995-2015. Ebay. Web. <http://www.ebay.com/itm/Warning-You-Are-Being-Watched-Parking-Sign-18-x12-/220629416120>.

"Study Shows Surveillance Cameras Reduce Crime, in Some Cases | Homeland Security News Wire." Study Shows Surveillance Cameras Reduce Crime, in Some Cases | Homeland Security News Wire. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.

2015. Surveillance Video Camera. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. <http://www.latticesemi.com/en/Solutions/Solutions/SolutionsDetails02/Surveillance.aspx>.