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Surveillance Cameras in London: Maybe Only One in a Thousand Solve Crimes, But at Least They All Keep an Eye on People

August 24th, 2009

Britain’s security camera system not such an efficient crime-buster, the BBC reports:

Only one crime was solved by each 1,000 CCTV cameras in London last year, a report into the city’s surveillance network has claimed…..David Davis MP, the former shadow home secretary, said: "It should provoke a long overdue rethink on where the crime prevention budget is being spent."

He added: "CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness.

"It creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security…."

Nationwide, the government has spent £500m on CCTV cameras.

When it comes to one particular crime, though, the London Metropolitan Police are claiming huge effectiveness for cameras, without any particular details in the story:

A spokesman for the Met said: "We estimate more than 70% of murder investigations have been solved with the help of CCTV retrievals and most serious crime investigations have a CCTV investigation strategy."

And I guess the capstone excuse:

A Home Office spokeswoman said CCTVs "help communities feel safer".

Jacob Sullum on Britain’s surveillance state, from Reason magazine’s August/September issue.

 



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