Public space closed circuit television (CCTV) systems can prevent crime. However, this is generally only achieved when careful consideration is given to all of the components of the system and where there is a detailed understanding of crime in the local area. Given the significant investment required to establish and maintain a public space CCTV system, it is therefore essential that adequate planning be undertaken before embarking on this form of crime prevention.
CCTV is not a panacea for crime. Studies have shown increases in crime after installation of public space CCTV systems, minor displacement of crime and a host of problems with monitoring, maintenance and system upgrades. Once installed, systems are rarely removed, necessitating a long-term financial commitment. It should also be noted that many crime prevention outcomes are best achieved through a combination of measures, rather than relying solely on one approach, and CCTV is no exception.
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