CCTV with added Audio, FOR YOUR SAFETY!

A high-ranking officer told the BBC the proposal to strengthen security by using microphones alongside closed-circuit TV involved “taking public surveillance to an entirely new level”.

The devices would be able to pick up conversations up to 100 yards away. But details of how the system might be used have not been worked out.

Even David “Id Cards” Blunkett doesn’t like the idea, colour me surprised

Aren’t these the same cameras that despite being sprinkled everywhere in the UK have had precisely zero impact on crime levels despite that being the primary reason for them being introduced?

You mean your government isn’t treating 1984 as a check list of things to do before the “terrorists win” anymore?

References? I’ve heard that argument several times and I’m kind of hoping for such claims to be true (being anti-surveillance becomes so much easier when there’s actually no gain to be found). Some thorough research would be nice to have at hand.

Is the Mosquito that was used in the UK a few months ago still in use?

If I can’t hear it, I’d be really interested in putting one near my house ;) Go away whippersnappers!

Only in the sense that some company used the same frequencies for cellphone ringtones that can’t be heard by teachers in class.

Genius! I can still hear up to 17.5khz. The good news is in a few years I’ll stop being able to hear those annoying flourescent ballasts.

Can cellphone speakers even reproduce true 17.5khz tones?

I can barely hear the 15.8khz one, but it’s there if I turn the volume up.

Bah, I can’t hear 22,4kHz frequencies. How will I manage? How?

I can hear 19.8 at 33, so I’m still hip with (some of) the kids.

References? I’ve heard that argument several times and I’m kind of hoping for such claims to be true (being anti-surveillance becomes so much easier when there’s actually no gain to be found). Some thorough research would be nice to have at hand.

I’ll check some of the links out that I’ve found in more detail tomorrow, but the bulk of studies without a vested interest in promoting the use of CCTV seem to indicate that it is very good when used in car parks but has little general benefit at crime reduction elsewhere compared to just improving things light street lighting.

but from here

Overall, the best current evidence suggests that CCTV reduces crime to a small degree. CCTV is most effective in reducing vehicle crime in car parks, but it had little or no effect on crime in public transport and city centre settings.

Both published and unpublished reports were considered in the searches, and the searches were international in scope and were not limited to the English language.

The search strategies resulted in 22 CCTV evaluations meeting the criteria for inclusion. The evaluations were carried out in three main settings: (1) city centre or public housing, (2) public transport, and (3) car parks.

Of the 22 included evaluations, half (11) found a desirable effect on crime and five found an undesirable effect on crime. Five evaluations found a null effect on crime (i.e., clear evidence of no effect), while the remaining one was classified as finding an uncertain effect on crime (i.e., unclear evidence of an effect).

Results from a meta-analysis provide a clearer picture of the crime prevention effectiveness of CCTV. From 18 evaluations – the other four did not provide the needed data to be included in the meta-analysis – it was concluded that CCTV had a significant desirable effect on crime, although the overall reduction in crime was a very small four per cent. Half of the studies (nine out of 18) showed evidence of a desirable effect of CCTV on crime. All nine of these studies were carried out in the UK. Conversely, the other nine studies showed no evidence of any desirable effect of CCTV on crime. All five North American studies were in this group.

The meta-analysis also examined the effect of CCTV on the most frequently measured crime types. It was found that CCTV had no effect on violent crimes (from five studies), but had a significant desirable effect on vehicle crimes (from eight studies).

Across the three settings, mixed results were found for the crime prevention effectiveness of CCTV. In the city centre and public housing setting, there was evidence that CCTV led to a negligible reduction in crime of about two per cent in experimental areas compared with control areas. CCTV had a very small but significant effect on crime in the five UK evaluations in this setting (three desirable and two undesirable), but had no effect on crime in the four North American evaluations.

So maybe I’m understating it’s usefulness somewhat but for the amount of money spent on them over, say more visible policing, or sticking up a few more street lights they’ve not done a great deal more than have an effect of vehicle crime which in nature is largely opportunistic anyway.

From a study done for the RCMP

The review shows that the effects of CCTV on crime are both quite variable and fairly unpredictable. Deterrence effects of CCTV are not constant over time and they vary across crime categories. For example, CCTV systems appear to have the least effect upon public disorder offences. The magnitude of deterrence effects appears to depend on location: the greatest effect appears to occur in car parks. Furthermore, the cameras do not need to be operational for deterrence effects to be observed. The deterrence effects of CCTV are highest when it is used in conjunction with other crime reduction measures and when tailored to the local setting. Finally, while deterrence effects have been shown before the cameras are operational, continuing publicity is required to maintain the effects.

Document from the Parliament Office of Science and Technology In PDF form so cant copy and past from it, but again in terms of crime reduction it still suggests it’s best at reducing car theft from Car Parks and petty vandalism.

Home office study shows CCTV has negligable effect on crime prevention/reduction

What I’m still having trouble finding are figures on are surely the fringe benefit that if it doesn’t deter crime (other than just moving it to where there aren’t cameras) surely it must have a huge benefit on conviction rates…

Cost to the UK taxpayer since 1998 for all these CCTV schemes? £170million

[edit] Typos and stuff

Interesting stuff. This stood out, though:

five found an undesirable effect on crime
I wonder how that happened. People feeling so safe they didn’t bother to lock their cars, which were promptly stolen?

I noticed that but couldn’t find any elaboration on it. My immediate thought is that as the cameras go in, regular policing in the area decreases on the basis that you’ll send someone if you need them rather than have them patrol the area visibly [and possibly it saves the money you just spent on cameras]. Do I think I could break into a car, unrecognised and escape before someone could send a patrol car round? you bet I do.

You know, your arguments, combined with your location, make me feel like you have a vested interest here. :)

I’ll quite happily state that I think they should have sent me to vegas with 170million pounds and let me spend it on booze, hookers and casinos and it would have had as much effect on Crime as all those cameras.

£170million pays for around 1,000 extra policemen or teachers over the 8 years that they’ve spent it, or 4.2million schoolbooks a year or a secret hideout, flashy car, cape, bat suit and 8 years of marshal arts training, god knows how many youth/sports centres, swimming pools, playing fields, Drugs treatment centres, sheltered accomodation or other things that might actually have had some overall impact on the crime rate.

Street lighting on its own cuts the rate of crime more effectively than a CCTV camera.

That’s pretty sweet, Mr. Jones.

Is there some cultural explanation for why Britain is going hog-wild for survelliance?

We all really liked Candid Camera, When drunks fuck and You’ve been framed and that £170million will keep us in footage for those sort of shows for decades?

The one thing I will say in the defence of CCTV is that while it is bugger all use at preventing crime, it is reasonable at allowing people to piece together what happened after the event.

The CCTV footage of Hillsborough helped pin the blame squarely on the Police at a time when the tabloids and Thatcher were desparate to pin it on the fans.

It showed Jamie Bulger being led out of the shopping centre by the two kids who’d eventually kill him

It showed how the IRA managed to stealthily drive a big dump truck full of explosives into the middle of the financial district of London, cunningly hide it in full view of at least 5 sets of cameras for two days and then blow the shit out of the place with no-one any the wiser until the warning calls went in.

We got to see the various July 7th bombers wandering around.

Just to pick a few high profile examples off the top of my head where CCTV utterly failed to prevent a variety of “tragedies” that it’s been trumpeted as being able to stop.

In other words, CCTV provides an extreme amount of visual information but since the police lack the means to manage this information it is next to useless unless there are specific clues to look for. Clues that will not be looked for until after a crime has been committed, and maybe not even then.

It is much the same with most surveillance/data gathering initiatives I find. “Lets give the police/spies access to all this information” doesn’t do a single thing if you don’t have people on hand to manage this flow and decide what information is important and what is not. Even more troubling, all this information is still worthless unless you have people who are skilled at sifting through it. And even if you do allocate more skilled people to analyse the information gathered, as the volume of information it is possible to gather increases, the relative volume of actually useful information decreases drastically.

Ah, if only, Nels m’boy.