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Few statistics back up the helpfulness or effectiveness of surveillance cameras, yet cities, businesses and schools across the country are installing the devices by the thousands. Wichita State University criminologist Paul Cromwell explores the use and issues surrounding security cameras.
Announcer: Holiday shoppers may be too busy to notice, but they're being watched by security cameras. To some, these cameras provide a level of comfort or security. To others, they are an invasion of privacy. Whether people are actually safer or not, Wichita State University criminologist Paul Cromwell says security cameras aren't a major deterrent.
Cromwell: "Recent research shows that the deterrent effect or the prevention effect of closed circuit television is not as great as it once was thought to be. Apparently there is a small positive effect from a deterrence and prevention standpoint, but not the great effect that once was thought."
Announcer: Cromwell says that for the most part, security cameras are not monitored. Rather, the information is stored on a disk, and after a crime has been committed, law enforcement reviews the tape for a particular period of time. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
Cromwell takes a look at how security cameras are used. The sound bite is 25 seconds and the outcue is "and so forth."
Cromwell: "There's been a tremendous growth in the use and extent of closed circuit television. Originally, 10, 15 years ago, it was primarily in banks and in convenience stores and such, kinds of businesses as that. Over time, because they have at least the appearance of being very effective, they've been moved to schools and other locations, other retail businesses and so forth."
Sound bite #2
Cromwell says security cameras are starting to be used more frequently outside in public areas. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "at risk."
Cromwell: "More recently we are beginning to see a lot more outdoor sights, traffic control for example, street corners, sidewalks, parks, locations where the general public is apt to be at risk."
Sound bite #3
Cromwell explains the main purposes of security cameras. The sound bite is 9 seconds and the outcue is "apprehension of criminals."
Cromwell: "There appears to be two main purposes of closed circuit television. One is the prevention or deterrence, and the other is enforcement or apprehension of criminals."
Sound bite #4
Cromwell says from a law enforcement perspective, closed circuit television appears to be fairly effective. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is "variety of crimes."
Cromwell: "From an enforcement or apprehension point of view, closed circuit television does appear to have a greater role and a greater effectiveness. Once the offense has occurred, the modern closed circuit television with better ability to identify has been fairly effective across a variety of crimes."
Sound bite #5
Cromwell says the privacy issue is the biggest concern with security cameras. The sound bite is 30 seconds and the outcue is "in stores and so forth."
Cromwell: "Probably the greatest issue with regard to closed circuit television and the growth of it has been the privacy issue. The courts have held that there's no right to privacy in a public place, although there are a number of individuals and groups that are campaigning against closed circuit television in public places, primarily due to a fear of invasion of a greater level of privacy, such as looking through the bedroom windows or restrooms or fitting rooms in stores and so forth."
Sound bite #6
Cromwell says most security cameras are used to store information. The sound bite is 22 seconds and the outcue is "might be thought."
Cromwell: "There's been some concern about the cost of monitoring closed circuit television and, for the most part, most closed circuit TVs are not monitored. The information is simply stored on a hard disk of a computer, and after a crime has been committed then law enforcement can go back and review the tape for that particular period of time. So, that cost of monitoring is really a lot less than it might be thought."