Has the installation of CCTV cameras decreased the crime rate in our suburbs and cities? This is the question I hope to answer and it seems a relevant one at that considering the fact that surveillance and CCTV cameras are surrounding us, watching our every move. With having so many around some could see them as protecting us from crime and wrongdoing while others deem it as an invasion of privacy. Through future research and data collection these questions will be answered.
The idea for this research proposal came from the Channel Seven television show ‘Surveillance Oz’ and it’s spin off series ‘Surveillance Oz: Dash Cams’. These two series are based on the real life CCTV footage that capture individual’s dangerous and risky behaviour. ‘Surveillance Oz’, not only shows how unpredictable people can be but also presents the idea that surveillance cameras are undoubtedly everywhere and is an issue that essentially involves anyone and everyone. What makes this show even more interesting is the fact the it also gives us access to unprecedented control rooms where we are introduced to a number of people who monitor these cameras on a routine basis. This television show started making me think about how many surveillance cameras really are out there there. Are they just a ploy for the Government to keep track of us or do they really decrease the crime rates in our cities.
With this idea comes a range of readings and research investigating the exact use of Closed-Circuit television cameras and how they are beneficial. A particularly interesting one was, ‘Open-Street CCTV in Australia: A comparative study of establishment and operation’. This report was written for the Criminology Research Council by two Criminology doctors from the University of Melbourne. The report investigates how surveillance cameras operate, who operates them and their codes of practice. It explores CCTV surveillance cameras not just in Australia but also in a range of international countries. This source provides an intricate level of understanding of surveillance use in cities and suburbs around the world and their development over the years and years to come.
Another preliminary reading is an article published by GNC Magazine titled ‘Do surveillance systems reduce crime?’ written by Kevin McCaney. The article explores a study by the Urban Institute on surveillance cameras in three cities across the United States- Baltimore, Chicago and Washington D.C.- and issued a report on how they affected crime rates. In Baltimore alone five hundred cameras were installed in a fifty-block downtown area. In Chicago’s downtown the six thousand cameras that are running, were paid and provided by a combination of Federal State and City funds. Although the report is said that some of the crime rate dropped, it also reported that crime had also moved on toward other areas that were thought to be less popular in the eye of camera monitors and police operations, areas in which surveillance and CCTV cameras were lacking. This was an example in the city of Chicago, however in saying this and despite the others areas where crime rate increased the city of Chicago still saved an estimate of $815 000 a month on criminal justice costs. This article was an extremely interesting read and can be seen as a great asset to my research report. It helps identify my research proposal question as a relevant issue that affects individuals all around the world.
There are many appropriate sources that can be utilised throughout my research report and these two are included. These two sources involve their own carried out investigations and thus can be compared to my very own future one.
The research and data collection method I would undertake to ask a variety of diverse public figures would essentially be a series of surveys and questionnaires conducted both in person and online using sites such as surveymonkey.com. The questions would include the individual’s opinion on surveillance cameras. I would ask whether they believe having so many out there acts as a protectant to them or rather a privacy invasion. I would back up my questions with a number of found statistics about the increased or decreased rate of crime as well as the rate of surveillance camera installations over the past years. I shall then later compare the found statistics to my own and come to my own individual conclusion.
With surveillance and CCTV cameras surrounding us and watching our every move, a relevant question to ask is, has the installation of closed-circuit television cameras decreased crime rate? It is a proposed question that all if not most people can relate to. Through my own future research and data collection as well as the use of several preliminary readings found, including the ones previously mentioned, I aim to examine and investigate this question in the future research report.
Surveillance Oz, 2012-2016, television series, Network Seven, Australia, October 2012
Surveillance Oz: Dash Cam, 2015, television series, Network Seven, Australia, July 2015
Wilson, D & Sutton, A 2003, ‘Open-street CCTV in Australia: a comparative study of establishment and operation’, University of Melbourne, Australia
McCaney, K 2011, ‘Do surveillance systems reduce crime?’, GNC, 20 September, viewed 21 March 2016,