Mixed Reports on the Effectiveness of Surveillance Cameras in NY Crime Reduction

Cameras are always around us, and the trend shows no signs of decreasing. Police agencies in New York and nationwide are installing cameras in high crime neighborhoods and property managers are using them to deter crime in apartment complexes. But, how effective are they at actually reducing crime? The answers to that are quite mixed.

A new study out of New York University evaluated the presence of cameras (and other security devices) in two fairly high crime neighborhoods in the city. What they found was that there was little evidence pointing to a reduction in crime.

According to this article from Jennifer Lee at the New York Times, police several years ago claim they saw a drop of 35% in the crime rate around public housing complexes after cameras were installed there. Unfortunately, this report she cited was very outdated and it would be interesting to see if the housing police still believed this were the case, 3 years later.

A recent occurrence involving the police as suspects points out another interesting aspect of the camera debate. When a crime is going to be committed, criminals will often simply avoid the camera rather than stop the commission of their intended criminal act. This same sentiment has been echoed around the country, that crime may be moved but not necessarily stopped by the watchful eye of the camera lens.

The debate comes in because we need to be certain our rights are not being sacrificed for nil. If the cameras are not effective in reducing crime then why are cities spending millions on this high tech crime prevention method?

If cameras simply move the crime to other areas, what’s the next solution: cameras everywhere? It seems that the trade off is not worth the cost of the average citizen’s privacy and the taxpayers money. Although cameras have been used to identify witnesses it doesn’t seem their payoff is an even trade for their cost.

Regardless of how you get caught, by a camera or good old fashioned police work, facing criminal charges isn’t the same without an experienced attorney. If you have a criminal case and need assistance, call today for a consultation.

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