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Multiple Targets: The Reasons To Support Town-centre CCTV Systems

NCJ Number
Crime Prevention and Community Safety: An International Journal Volume: 5 Issue: 3 Dated: 2003 Pages: 39-48
David Mackay
Date Published
10 pages
This British study examined the decisionmaking process that led to local governments' installation of CCTV (closed circuit television) to provide surveillance of town-centers.
There have been four main partners or stakeholders in town-center CCTV systems: the local authority, the police, local businesses, and the local media. The case study featured in the research reported in this article involved an examination of the role of these stakeholders in the Glasgow CityWatch system. The case study was a qualitative survey, and in-depth interviews were conducted with relevant senior staff who had been involved in the project. The main question asked of these stakeholders was, "Why are town-center CCTV systems so popular?" The standard response was that they are good crime-prevention measures. An examination of the relevant research literature, however, indicates that there is very little undisputed evidence to support this claim for CCTV systems. The overwhelming impression from this case study was that decisions were made to support town-center CCTV systems solely on the basis that such a system would assist in a variety of matters that were considered by the decisionmakers to be important. Significantly, there has been little argument by any of the partners, including the police, that town-center CCTV systems must be supported because they help to reduce crime. The installation and maintenance of CCTV systems serves the interest of stakeholders because the public accepts the logic that CCTV systems make the patrons of town-centers safer and therefore reduce the public subjective fear of crime. This makes the public more likely to patronize town-centers. Optimistic claims for CCTV systems in town-centers have been accepted without reservation by the media and the public, thus providing the standard premise that CCTV achieves the results claimed for it. 47 notes