The ever-growing use of CCTV cameras in large city centers is a controversial issue. There is a large gray area regarding the ethics of these security cameras. One side of the argument speaks out about the benefits of a 24/7 video record as a crime deterrent. The other, more outspoken side, argues for the right to privacy. There are two sides of the story, and each group has its points. This article will tackle the benefits of having a public form of CCTV first and follow up with a counterpoint about the effectiveness of surveillance cameras.
The initial argument regarding the positives of CCTV is that it will deter criminals from committing crimes in public. This is true in some cases. Several studies, including one commissioned by the ACLU, which is commonly known as being anti-CCTV, have shown that CCTV has reduced property crime and premeditated crime. This has affected car theft on public streets, store break-ins and muggings in parking lots. It’s hard to measure the success of CCTV cameras because their aim is largely preventive.
One significant advantage to using CCTV cameras that we’ve seen in the past two decades is the use of surveillance cameras in retail stores. Most shoppers know they are being watched by several cameras at once, which are put in place to deter shoplifting. Also, employees are protected against false allegations in the workplace due to the evidence of recorded footage. Employees are also less likely to steal from their workplaces. You can see that this is a big issue just by looking above the cashier line at a Walmart or Target.
In the U. S. or 2012 alone, there was $50 billion stolen from businesses by their own employees, according to an Employee Theft Statistics report. As evidenced by the above points, there are good reasons for the use of security cameras in private businesses and as a premeditated-crime deterrent. Now let’s look at the negative aspects of CCTV cameras in public areas. The same studies that found that cameras reduced property damage state that being watched does nothing to stop public crimes of passion. Also, just because crime was reduced in an area with a prevalent camera presence, that doesn’t mean that the crime has been deterred.
In some cases, it has been shown to raise crime rates in areas a few blocks away where there are no cameras. The British public is quite used to having their every move recorded. Having no privacy is the norm. It’s no secret that opponents of CCTV call the U. K. The Big Brother State, referring to the dystopian novel “1984. ” There is also a monetary side to the issue. It is expensive to buy cameras and pay experienced public defenders to watch them. To cut costs, those in power have proposed paying members of the public to monitor the equipment.
This is hugely controversial and is damaging to a practice that is already seen as invasive and voyeuristic. Protestors of CCTV cameras are outspoken about defending their rights. They have solid points about invasion of privacy but seem to be losing an uphill battle in European nations. There are benefits to having security cameras, especially in private businesses. The issue is about protection versus privacy, and until there is solid data about crime prevention or the courts uphold the case for personal privacy rights, this debate will continue. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.