Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Big Brother's on the way

Fosters.coms Aaron Sanborn reports that in Dover, NH the police are going to be installing 23 cameras in various public buildings. The cameras aren't going to be constantly monitored but will be used to provide evidence in the case of crime. Sanborn talked to Dover Police Chief Anthony Colarusso.
"In general the security cameras are a deterrence that will hopefully prevent anything from happening," Colarusso said. "If people know a camera is in a certain area, they may be less likely to commit a crime."

Really? How many bank robberies occur every day in the U.S.? Are they more or less per capita than they were before the advent of cameras? Is there any evidence that they really are deterrent?

Well, the answer to that is a resounding "?".

Some studies show the cameras to be effective, some show them to be ineffective. Some show them to be effective, but closer study shows camera installation coincided with increased patrols - so which was the bigger deterrent? The questionable track record combined with the expense to setup and maintain and the privacy concerns of cameras should weigh heavily in the consideration of any camera deterrent program. But it doesn't. The appearance of doing something often trumps all other considerations.

For a very good article on "Police Cameras" check out the article at Howstuffworks.com. Or you can check out my original post on the subject - it says much the same thing, but howstuffworks.com has even more supporting links.