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Can a security video camera reduce crimes

Is the usage of a surveillance camera system in a public place an invasion of privacy? There are many Americans who feel this way. You talk to many people and they will tell you that the moment they see a security video camera in a public place they somehow feel violated. In most of the cases police personnel monitor live footages from security cameras and in some cases they have been accused of acting like peeping Toms. But is this justified? Have security cameras been able to reduce crimes?

There have been some recent studies that have been done regarding the surveillance camera system and some of the data is quite encouraging. With the installation of security video camera reduction in crime rates in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York housing projects have been pegged at 17%, 37% and 36% respectively. At the same time the security cameras that were installed in Washington DC have not really been able to provide enough footage for solving crimes.

The use of surveillance camera system has reduced auto theft and related crimes by 41% and these camera systems have proved to be extremely useful in those enclosed areas that have lower foot traffic. So why do we have so many critics that say that a security video camera system is still not as effective as it should be? The answer could be simple – millions have been spent on the installation and upkeep of security cameras but their utilization leaves much to be desired. So, it is not the ineffectiveness of the security camera system that is the issue but the usage of this facility.

ACLU and some other activists have been always vocal against the use of security camera systems because they seemingly intrude into privacy. But there are some landmark Fourth Amendment cases that must be quoted in this context. In Katz v. United States (1967) it was ruled that people in public areas shouldn’t expect privacy because they knowingly expose themselves in public areas. In United States v. Knotts (1983) it was ruled that people in public areas are subject to surveillance because it is a public area that they are in.

There will be continuous debates on whether a security video camera system is useful or not. But if you think from the point of view of most people the presence of a surveillance camera system does make one feel more secure.

As you can clearly see that there is no concrete data that can prove beyond doubt that a security video camera can prevent or reduce crimes. But there is enough evidence to suggest so. If you are concerned about your safety and security, as you should be, it doesn't harm you to invest in a surveillance camera system. There are so many makes and models available in the market that you will not need to bust your budget to purchase a surveillance camera. And if you shop online there is always the chance to save money on your purchase.

There is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of a surveillance camera system. However, most people believe that a security video camera makes them feel safer.

by: Gail Black

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