CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

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Heisenberg
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CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Heisenberg » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:14 pm UTC

Cory Doctorow wrote:Bruce Schneier has written an outstanding essay for CNN on why sticking CCTV cameras on every corner doesn't make us safer, and can make us less safe by opening us up to abuse, and by causing police resources to be misallocated. This is required reading for the twenty-first century. Bruce points out that where there's a specific threat in a specific place -- casinos worried about cheats, shops worried about shoplifters, parking garages worried about skulking muggers -- CCTVs have some use. But as a catch-all solution to crime, they just don't work well enough to justify their expense in resources and liberty.

Pervasive security cameras don't substantially reduce crime. This fact has been demonstrated repeatedly: in San Francisco, California, public housing; in a New York apartment complex; in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; in Washington; in study after study in both the U.S. and the U.K. Nor are they instrumental in solving many crimes after the fact.

There are exceptions, of course, and proponents of cameras can always cherry-pick examples to bolster their argument. These success stories are what convince us; our brains are wired to respond more strongly to anecdotes than to data. But the data are clear: CCTV cameras have minimal value in the fight against crime.

Although it's comforting to imagine vigilant police monitoring every camera, the truth is very different, for a variety of reasons: technological limitations of cameras, organizational limitations of police and the adaptive abilities of criminals. No one looks at most CCTV footage until well after a crime is committed. And when the police do look at the recordings, it's very common for them to be unable to identify suspects. Criminals don't often stare helpfully at the lens and -- unlike the Dubai assassins -- tend to wear sunglasses and hats. Cameras break far too often.


http://www.boingboing.net/2010/02/26/sc ... -dont.html

MrGee
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby MrGee » Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:02 am UTC

Meh. If you're in a public place, you should assume you're being watched anyway. Even if CCTV doesn't help often, I'm sure it helps sometimes.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Vaniver » Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:07 am UTC

MrGee wrote:Meh. If you're in a public place, you should assume you're being watched anyway. Even if CCTV doesn't help often, I'm sure it helps sometimes.
"It helps sometimes" is different from "on the whole, it has a sufficiently positive effect to justify its cost." When a police officer scans through hours of footage to find a tape of the crime, and gets no information out of it, what other investigations could they have been doing?
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Rakysh » Sat Feb 27, 2010 5:56 am UTC

Hiya, I did some work experience in one of these control rooms. First of all, it isn't a policeman sifting through the tape. Second of all, the system they used (which I assume is fairly common) let you type in a time (yay for digital) which sends you straight to the time of the reported crime. That's hardly time consuming.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby MrGee » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:04 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
MrGee wrote:Meh. If you're in a public place, you should assume you're being watched anyway. Even if CCTV doesn't help often, I'm sure it helps sometimes.
"It helps sometimes" is different from "on the whole, it has a sufficiently positive effect to justify its cost." When a police officer scans through hours of footage to find a tape of the crime, and gets no information out of it, what other investigations could they have been doing?


The more I look into this article the less happy I am. Cory Doctorow copy-pasted the CNN article onto his blog, with no link. The CNN article states that CCTVs are useless (except in parking garages where they significantly reduce auto theft) and that they don't reduce crime because no one watches the tapes (and yet there is a substantially drain on resources because all our officers are busy watching tapes). So they help and they don't help, and people watch them but don't watch them, and NONE of this information has anything aspiring to a citation.

Why the fuck should I believe any of this nonsense?

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Le1bn1z » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:22 pm UTC

Heisenberg wrote:
Cory Doctorow wrote:
There are exceptions, of course, and proponents of cameras can always cherry-pick examples to bolster their argument. These success stories are what convince us; our brains are wired to respond more strongly to anecdotes than to data. But the data are clear: CCTV cameras have minimal value in the fight against crime.

Although it's comforting to imagine vigilant police monitoring every camera, the truth is very different, for a variety of reasons: technological limitations of cameras, organizational limitations of police and the adaptive abilities of criminals. No one looks at most CCTV footage until well after a crime is committed. And when the police do look at the recordings, it's very common for them to be unable to identify suspects. Criminals don't often stare helpfully at the lens and -- unlike the Dubai assassins -- tend to wear sunglasses and hats. Cameras break far too often.


http://www.boingboing.net/2010/02/26/sc ... -dont.html


So, what they're saying is that CCTV cameras work sometimes for some things if you use them properly, but don't effect other types of crimes.
Wow.

What a condemnation.

Let's look at some of those "cherry picked" examples:

1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.
2.) CCTV has reduced harrassment on the London Underground. I've actually seen this in action. It's fantastic.
3.) CCTV footage helped track down the 5/5 bombers in London.
4.) CCTV helped identify high level Israeli assasinis, as you say. They can catch Mossad, they can catch you.

All in all, not a terrible record. No, CCTV won't end bank robberies or home invasions. It won't end murder. But they DO make our streets safer. And that's not a bad thing. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to mount CCTV in a dark ally than to pay bobbies to trapse up and down every side street in every major city, so we can do more with less.

As for this "great essay," its 3 paragraphs long. It has no citations of statistics, or references to actual studies. So, not so great.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby EmptySet » Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:30 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:So they help and they don't help, and people watch them but don't watch them, and NONE of this information has anything aspiring to a citation.


Le1bn1z wrote:As for this "great essay," its 3 paragraphs long. It has no citations of statistics, or references to actual studies. So, not so great.


...

The CNN Article wrote:The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bruce Schneier. For a version of this article with embedded links to sources, click here


It says right there at the bottom of the article that there is a version which has sources.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby MrGee » Sun Feb 28, 2010 12:41 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:
MrGee wrote:So they help and they don't help, and people watch them but don't watch them, and NONE of this information has anything aspiring to a citation.


Le1bn1z wrote:As for this "great essay," its 3 paragraphs long. It has no citations of statistics, or references to actual studies. So, not so great.


...

The CNN Article wrote:The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Bruce Schneier. For a version of this article with embedded links to sources, click here


It says right there at the bottom of the article that there is a version which has sources.


Sorry, four links to get to the actual sources managed to throw me off :(

I looked at three of the sources.

-One is from the Daily Telegraph, which makes me not trust it already. It said that the cameras were expensive but mildly helpful. A big problem was that the cameras weren't good enough technologically.

-One is a scientific paper that requires payment. The abstract gives the topic of the paper without the actual RESULTS. Who let that guy be a scientist?

-One is a scientific paper that concludes that cameras reduce crime by 13 percent!

So overall, I'm not really blown away by Mr. Schneier.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Aetius » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:15 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.


I was under the impression that the exact opposite was true, that red light cameras were a horrible idea and that adoptions were solely revenue driven. At least five states already have laws on the books banning them. Especially bad were places that lowered yellow light time (in an effort to again, drive up revenue) corresponding with the installation of red light cameras. A quick google search turned up: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Sero » Sun Feb 28, 2010 1:29 am UTC

The article wrote:There are exceptions, of course, and proponents of cameras can always cherry-pick examples to bolster their argument. These success stories are what convince us; our brains are wired to respond more strongly to anecdotes than to data. But the data are clear: CCTV cameras have minimal value in the fight against crime.


Care to share your own cites, Le1bn1z? I'd agree that the article perhaps doesn't exactly definitively prove it's point, but you've listed some anecdotes and pointed out the failure to prove they don't work by the article, which doesn't exactly prove that they do work, which you do assert.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Bright Shadows » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:33 am UTC

First result of "red light cameras effectiveness" minus the quotes.
Apparently, red light cameras saw an increase in rear end crashes. Probably because of the shorter yellow light thing. Overall, they still saved people money and reduced right angle crashes.

In a slightly higher level of google-fu:
Here.
I'm not slogging through that rather large thing for you, but it looks like a fine source on information, doesn't it? It's a meta-analysis of the effect of CCTV stuff on crime. Have fun!
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MrGee
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby MrGee » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:41 am UTC

Aetius wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.


I was under the impression that the exact opposite was true, that red light cameras were a horrible idea and that adoptions were solely revenue driven. At least five states already have laws on the books banning them. Especially bad were places that lowered yellow light time (in an effort to again, drive up revenue) corresponding with the installation of red light cameras. A quick google search turned up: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp


What that is just weird. Why would the crash rates go UP?

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Cynical Idealist » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:47 am UTC

MrGee wrote:
Aetius wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.


I was under the impression that the exact opposite was true, that red light cameras were a horrible idea and that adoptions were solely revenue driven. At least five states already have laws on the books banning them. Especially bad were places that lowered yellow light time (in an effort to again, drive up revenue) corresponding with the installation of red light cameras. A quick google search turned up: http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp


What that is just weird. Why would the crash rates go UP?

People brake harder than they should have/brake when the driver behind expects them to go through, because they don't want to risk triggering the camera.

Bonus: some cities, in an effort to make more people run reds (so they could get more revenue from the tickets), reduced the yellow time on lights with cameras. The effects of this are predictable.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby JoeKhol » Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:46 pm UTC

Has anyone in any way qualified ever said "CCTV Makes You Safe"?

There is no one way to magically eliminate all crime - even hiring more police officers isn't necessarily going to automatically improve things - but as even this intentionally negative report accepts, CCTV can help in many circumstances when used correctly.

How is this debate going to get anywhere with such manufacutred arguments lumping all CCTV together in one "Orwellian" (how much do I hate that lazy reference!) lump.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby nowfocus » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:16 pm UTC

Cory Doctorow wrote:There are exceptions, of course, and proponents of cameras can always cherry-pick examples to bolster their argument. These success stories are what convince us; our brains are wired to respond more strongly to anecdotes than to data.


Le1bn1z wrote:Let's look at some of those "cherry picked" examples:

1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.
2.) CCTV has reduced harrassment on the London Underground. I've actually seen this in action. It's fantastic.
3.) CCTV footage helped track down the 5/5 bombers in London.
4.) CCTV helped identify high level Israeli assasinis, as you say. They can catch Mossad, they can catch you.


Number 1 and 2 have a specific purpose, they are not just 'catch all' solutions to crime. There is a specific crime repeatedly being committed in a specific location, so it makes some sense. At the same time, CCTV gives many false postives in facial recognition, and some can easily doctor their license plates to avoid tickets.

3 and 4 however a purely anecdotal, and aren't a fair representation of the general system. To get identities on these people, hundreds of hours had to be committed to watching. Certainly worth it in those cases, but is this really efficient in the case of a purse snatcher?
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Rakysh » Sun Feb 28, 2010 7:19 pm UTC

As I said earlier, you don't just trawl through it, you get a place and time when the crime was committed, and then go to that bit on the tapes.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Anubis » Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:08 pm UTC

Last summer I got a ticket from a red light camera. I did not run the red light. I could have fairly easily proven that I did not run the red light, based solely on the information captured by the camera itself. However, it would have cost more money to fight the ticket in court (even without a lawyer) than to simply pay the fine, which as far I'm concerned makes it extortion.

Before that incident I actually like red light cameras (mostly because I falsely believed that, when working properly, they reduced traffic accidents). I now realize that they are merely a revenue generating scheme.

As far as CCTVs go, as long as they are in a public place where you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, I could care less.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Aetius » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:02 pm UTC

Anubis wrote:Last summer I got a ticket from a red light camera. I did not run the red light. I could have fairly easily proven that I did not run the red light, based solely on the information captured by the camera itself. However, it would have cost more money to fight the ticket in court (even without a lawyer) than to simply pay the fine, which as far I'm concerned makes it extortion.

Before that incident I actually like red light cameras (mostly because I falsely believed that, when working properly, they reduced traffic accidents). I now realize that they are merely a revenue generating scheme.

As far as CCTVs go, as long as they are in a public place where you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, I could care less.


As a rule, any vehicular violation that the city doesn't deem worthy of putting a salaried, uniformed police offer in charge of enforcing, is 100% a revenue generating scheme.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby MrGee » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:31 am UTC

Anubis wrote:Last summer I got a ticket from a red light camera. I did not run the red light. I could have fairly easily proven that I did not run the red light, based solely on the information captured by the camera itself. However, it would have cost more money to fight the ticket in court (even without a lawyer) than to simply pay the fine, which as far I'm concerned makes it extortion.

Before that incident I actually like red light cameras (mostly because I falsely believed that, when working properly, they reduced traffic accidents). I now realize that they are merely a revenue generating scheme.

As far as CCTVs go, as long as they are in a public place where you have no reasonable expectation of privacy, I could care less.


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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Silas » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:07 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:4.) CCTV helped identify high level Israeli assassins, as you say. They can catch Mossad, they can catch you.

Just point-of-fact here, but they didn't catch Mossad. They got footage of some people getting ready to kill a Hamas arms-buyer, then vanishing into thin air after killing him. It's pretty obvious it was the Israelis, because who else would have killed him? But we didn't need CCTVs to know that. The camera footage netted UAE police a bunch of photographs and passport duplicates, but they're never going to find the actual people. The investigation is doomed to failure.

In fact, that supports Schneier's point: the very availability of the CCTV footage is getting various police agencies to spend countless hours looking for something they're never going to find, trying in vain to prove something they already know. It's a poster case for misallocated resources.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby ianf » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:27 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.


Not sure about red light cameras, but the case is hotly debated on speed cameras. The statistics don't seem to show much correlation between use of speed cameras and reduced fatalities (e.g. see discussion on http://www.safespeed.org.uk).

Le1bn1z wrote:2.) CCTV has reduced harrassment on the London Underground. I've actually seen this in action. It's fantastic.


Trouble with the cameras on the Underground is that they are run by the Underground. So they are fine for catching harrassment against LT staff, but not so hot on abuse by LT staff - see this story - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8310436.stm - this guy was caught because of a phone camera and YouTube, not CCTV.

Le1bn1z wrote:3.) CCTV footage helped track down the 5/5 bombers in London.
4.) CCTV helped identify high level Israeli assasinis, as you say. They can catch Mossad, they can catch you.


Note that this is not prevention (and in the latter example, it doesn't actually seem to have achieved anything yet).

Le1bn1z wrote:All in all, not a terrible record. No, CCTV won't end bank robberies or home invasions. It won't end murder. But they DO make our streets safer. And that's not a bad thing. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to mount CCTV in a dark ally than to pay bobbies to trapse up and down every side street in every major city, so we can do more with less.


The trouble with CCTV is that they are pretty good after the event, but are not prevention. For that, you do need the bobbies on the beat. The only time I've seen CCTV actually have an effect was when it was mounted on top of a police van - and I'm certain that the deterrent was the police van rather than the camera.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Eyat » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

ianf wrote:The trouble with CCTV is that they are pretty good after the event, but are not prevention. For that, you do need the bobbies on the beat. The only time I've seen CCTV actually have an effect was when it was mounted on top of a police van - and I'm certain that the deterrent was the police van rather than the camera.


Isn't catching the criminal the whole purpose of these devices? Did anyone ever thik that the camera would climb off the pole and club the mugger in the head just before the mugging occurred? If they aid in catching the criminal they prevent them from commiting more crimes. If this is how you are going to judge them isn't arresting people not a deterrant because they have already commited a crime?

My city has these:
https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/About%20CPD/POD%20Program

And they seem very effective, who is going to commit a crime under a flashing police box with a camera? They have gunshot detectors and can be controlled remotely from police cars using laptops.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Malice » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:39 pm UTC

Eyat wrote:
ianf wrote:The trouble with CCTV is that they are pretty good after the event, but are not prevention. For that, you do need the bobbies on the beat. The only time I've seen CCTV actually have an effect was when it was mounted on top of a police van - and I'm certain that the deterrent was the police van rather than the camera.


Isn't catching the criminal the whole purpose of these devices? Did anyone ever thik that the camera would climb off the pole and club the mugger in the head just before the mugging occurred?


Yeah, you're totally right, how else could a camera be a deterrent?

Eyat wrote:who is going to commit a crime under a flashing police box with a camera?
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby ianf » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:26 pm UTC

Eyat wrote:
ianf wrote:The trouble with CCTV is that they are pretty good after the event, but are not prevention. For that, you do need the bobbies on the beat. The only time I've seen CCTV actually have an effect was when it was mounted on top of a police van - and I'm certain that the deterrent was the police van rather than the camera.


Isn't catching the criminal the whole purpose of these devices? Did anyone ever thik that the camera would climb off the pole and club the mugger in the head just before the mugging occurred? If they aid in catching the criminal they prevent them from commiting more crimes. If this is how you are going to judge them isn't arresting people not a deterrant because they have already commited a crime?


By concentrating on the device, you are missing the point. It's not the device that's important, it's what the device replaces which is important. For example, a police force can spend some of its budget on speed cameras or on policemen. The speed cameras catch someone who is speeding, but do not act as a deterrent in the way that more police do. Furthermore, they cannot catch people engaging in other dangerous activities (such as tailgating).

Similarly, a police patrol acts as a deterrent which prevents crime in a way that a camera does not. I'd rather have a police car driving down my street than a camera on it. Cameras are presented as a way of increasing safety, but there do not seem to be convincing statistics to back this up.

If you are concentrating on the capabilities of the cameras, then you are ignoring the possibility that cameras are not the best option.

And as to whether arresting people is a deterrent, it is (or is supposed to be) a deterrent to other people, not the people who have been arrested. It is supposed to be punishment for the people who have been arrested.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Bright Shadows » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:47 pm UTC

Anubis wrote:Before that incident I actually like red light cameras (mostly because I falsely believed that, when working properly, they reduced traffic accidents). I now realize that they are merely a revenue generating scheme.

They DO reduce traffic damages, more-likely-to-be fatal crashes, and so on. Source is in my last post.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Eyat » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:26 pm UTC

ianf wrote:
By concentrating on the device, you are missing the point. It's not the device that's important, it's what the device replaces which is important. For example, a police force can spend some of its budget on speed cameras or on policemen. The speed cameras catch someone who is speeding, but do not act as a deterrent in the way that more police do. Furthermore, they cannot catch people engaging in other dangerous activities (such as tailgating).


It is hardly a one to one replacement. It isn't a choice between a police patrol or a camera, it is often the choice between a police officer occasionally and a camera all the time. Its not like they cost the same, cameras are a force multiplier.

As for traffic control cameras- how is getting speeding tickets from a camera not going to deter future speeding? I mean if I constantly got tickets in the mail from running red lights and speeding it would certainly change my habits. Its also funny you brought up tailgating since earlier in the thread someone said that red light cameras cause a lot of fender bender accidents. If you are tailgating someone and hit them because they don't run a yellow light (because they thought they would get a ticket from the camera) you get a ticket. Blaming the camera for people that didn't run the light getting hit by the people behind them who were trying to is an impressive feat of mental gymnastics. You don't get to hit other cars with your car even if a camera isn't watching.

Besides the purpose of the red light camera is to reduce redlight running and the far more dangerous 'T-bone' accident.
and they do :
A study sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration evaluated red light camera programs in seven cities.11 The study found that, overall, right-angle crashes decreased by 25 percent while rear-end collisions increased by 15 percent. Results showed a positive aggregate economic benefit of more than $18.5 million over 370 site years, which translates into a crash reduction benefit of approximately $39,000 per site year. http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/rlr.html

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby JoeKhol » Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:40 pm UTC

ianf wrote:It's not the device that's important, it's what the device replaces which is important. For example, a police force can spend some of its budget on speed cameras or on policemen.
Only if the device replaces something. It isn't an automatic either/or choice. After all, one of the main complaints against speed cameras is that they're for making money - if that money is used to pay for more police officers, where is the downside?

ianf wrote:The speed cameras catch someone who is speeding, but do not act as a deterrent in the way that more police do.
They deter speeding (by their presence, speeders getting tickets and ultimately loosing their licence).

ianf wrote:Furthermore, they cannot catch people engaging in other dangerous activities (such as tailgating).
Officers on the beat can't catch corporate fraudsters. Putting a hat on doesn't stop your feet getting cold. You don't scrap something because it doesn't do everything.

ianf wrote:I'd rather have a police car driving down my street than a camera on it.
I'd rather have both - this strikes me as rather obvious if you can deal with the management and privacy aspects (which I think we can).
Therefore, I think I am.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Dr. Diaphanous » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:20 pm UTC

Can someone explain to me how CCTV erodes my liberty?

Other than my liberty to shoplift of course.

Until they start installing them inside people's houses I don't see they problem.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Malice » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:06 pm UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:Can someone explain to me how CCTV erodes my liberty?

Other than my liberty to shoplift of course.

Until they start installing them inside people's houses I don't see they problem.


Ah, the old, "Who cares about privacy if you have nothing to hide?" But so many people have things to hide that aren't against the law (now); free dissent against government, or homosexuality, or religious practice... Things you'd rather not your neighbors or the government know, for good reasons that have nothing to do with being a criminal. And if the wrong thing is ever criminalized, the system to catch those people is already in place. A mass surveillance system is one step closer to totalitarianism.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby ianf » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:26 pm UTC

Dr. Diaphanous wrote:Can someone explain to me how CCTV erodes my liberty?

Other than my liberty to shoplift of course.

Until they start installing them inside people's houses I don't see they problem.


It's not the CCTV cameras in isolation, it's the general context this is all happening in. In the UK, this is increased police powers under the guise of anti-terror legislation, the introduction of ID cards, the installation of body scanners at airports, the retention of DNA data of innocent people by the police, the requirement for mobile phone and internet records to be retained, etc.

It's not just one thing, it's a whole set of things where the state is monitoring its citizens ever closer.

The problem is the loss of privacy. There are plenty of things you might want to do that you don't want other people (or specific people) to know about. Some of these may be morally dubious (like visiting your mistress) whilst others are just protecting your interests (e.g. you don't want your boss to know you're going for an interview at a rival company). As CCTV monitoring is moved from the police to private firms, the risks of such activities becoming known increase.

And then there are the documented cases where innocent people have got into trouble due to CCTV. A rock band called "The Thirst" were arrested by 30 armed policemen due to faulty information from council CCTV operators (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ndgun.html). Allan Dunne was suspended from work and shown on TV as a criminal because of assumptions arising from CCTV (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/04/19 ... _innocent/).

For most people, as you say, there is not a problem. But there will be a small number of innocent people who will face some sort of trouble because of CCTV. The general assumption is that if you are innocent then you have nothing to fear - but that is just not true all the time.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Dauric » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:20 pm UTC

Another example:

A CCTV across the street from a known bar that caters to gay and lesbian singles can record the faces and times of everyone that enters. You're just asking for conservatives to craft some sort of policy that will allow them to enforce "Anti-Sodomy" laws that are still on the books in many states.


Collections of CCTVs can compile a dossier on every shop you visit, how long you're in the store, and how large a bag you carry out on a regular basis. CCTV recordings can be correlated with the time-stamp on credit card and store receipts to know exactly what you bought any any one time.

Have you ever looked in your shopping cart and said "Wow, I know why I'm getting this stuff, but if I didn't know me I'd think I was a terrorist." Last time I had that thought cross my mind I had an assortment of household cleaners (I was out of cleaning 'stuff' and I wanted to get the place cleaned up before I had friends over) a large "tupperware' style plastic container and foam padding (I play tabletop war-games and I scratch build my own carrying cases.) and a variety-box of nuts and bolts (I had a chair I needed to fix) and a heavy jacket (I was replacing my old winter jacket in early September, before the demand and prices shot up). I don't know my bomb-making chemistry all that well (not being inclined to make them myself, although I know certain combination or two of household cleaners make a nifty nerve gas) but I'm sure the right combination, maybe with some gasoline siphoned from my gas tank with foam dissolved as a gelling agent, add in some metal shrapnel..

In a terrorist-twitchy society with automatic database searches generating suspect lists?
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Yakk » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:28 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.

Accidents go up when you install red light cameras at intersections, because people slam on the breaks and are hit from behind.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp

"The cameras were associated with an increase in total crashes...
"Comprehensive studies conclude cameras actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them....
"The cameras are correlated with an increase in total crashes of 8% to 17%."
"The analysis shows that the number of crashes at locations with cameras more than doubled, from 365 collisions in 1998 to 755 last year. Injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent, from 144 such wrecks to 262. Broadside crashes, also known as right-angle or T-bone collisions, rose 30 percent, from 81 to 106 during that time frame."
"Our findings are more pessimistic, finding no change in angle accidents and large increases in rear-end crashes and many other types of crashes relative to other intersections."
"The results of this study suggest that the installation of the RLC at these sites did not provide any reduction in accidents, rather there has been increases in rear end and adjacent approaches accidents on a before and after basis and also by comparison with the changes in accidents at intersection signals."

But that is just a mountain of scientific papers. You have your certainty, and I cannot compete with that!
2.) CCTV has reduced harrassment on the London Underground. I've actually seen this in action. It's fantastic.

Data: plural of anecdote.

You managed to spot someone who was going to harrass, but didn't, because of a CCTV camera? I'm curious.
3.) CCTV footage helped track down the 5/5 bombers in London.

Sure. How many man hours per caught criminal was that again?

I'm serious. How many man hours was spend on catching them?

Could another method have done it in fewer man hours?
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby MrGee » Fri Mar 05, 2010 6:51 pm UTC

As has been stated before, I'd take a rear-end fenderbender over a critical damage T-bone accident any day.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Vaniver » Fri Mar 05, 2010 7:11 pm UTC

MrGee wrote:As has been stated before, I'd take a rear-end fenderbender over a critical damage T-bone accident any day.
Um, T-bones increased 30%. Crashes which resulted in bodily injury or death increased 81%.

If you want to decrease T-bones, the thing to do is have all the lights be red for a second (or half-second or whatever), not to have red light cameras or to slow down the duration of yellow lights.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Levi » Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:32 am UTC

Dauric wrote:Another example:

A CCTV across the street from a known bar that caters to gay and lesbian singles can record the faces and times of everyone that enters. You're just asking for conservatives to craft some sort of policy that will allow them to enforce "Anti-Sodomy" laws that are still on the books in many states.


Collections of CCTVs can compile a dossier on every shop you visit, how long you're in the store, and how large a bag you carry out on a regular basis. CCTV recordings can be correlated with the time-stamp on credit card and store receipts to know exactly what you bought any any one time.

Have you ever looked in your shopping cart and said "Wow, I know why I'm getting this stuff, but if I didn't know me I'd think I was a terrorist." Last time I had that thought cross my mind I had an assortment of household cleaners (I was out of cleaning 'stuff' and I wanted to get the place cleaned up before I had friends over) a large "tupperware' style plastic container and foam padding (I play tabletop war-games and I scratch build my own carrying cases.) and a variety-box of nuts and bolts (I had a chair I needed to fix) and a heavy jacket (I was replacing my old winter jacket in early September, before the demand and prices shot up). I don't know my bomb-making chemistry all that well (not being inclined to make them myself, although I know certain combination or two of household cleaners make a nifty nerve gas) but I'm sure the right combination, maybe with some gasoline siphoned from my gas tank with foam dissolved as a gelling agent, add in some metal shrapnel..

In a terrorist-twitchy society with automatic database searches generating suspect lists?


In addition to use by the government, private companies (credit card companies, insurance, etc.) could use this information to decide what rates to give you or whether or not to take you as a customer.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Bright Shadows » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:45 am UTC

Yakk wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:1.) CCTV is GREAT for catching dangerous drivers, red light cameras rock, hence their rolling adoption and retention in cities throughout North America, and are in common use by both the public and private sector.

Accidents go up when you install red light cameras at intersections, because people slam on the breaks and are hit from behind.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/04/430.asp

"The cameras were associated with an increase in total crashes...
"Comprehensive studies conclude cameras actually increase crashes and injuries, providing a safety argument not to install them....
"The cameras are correlated with an increase in total crashes of 8% to 17%."
"The analysis shows that the number of crashes at locations with cameras more than doubled, from 365 collisions in 1998 to 755 last year. Injury and fatal crashes climbed 81 percent, from 144 such wrecks to 262. Broadside crashes, also known as right-angle or T-bone collisions, rose 30 percent, from 81 to 106 during that time frame."
"Our findings are more pessimistic, finding no change in angle accidents and large increases in rear-end crashes and many other types of crashes relative to other intersections."
"The results of this study suggest that the installation of the RLC at these sites did not provide any reduction in accidents, rather there has been increases in rear end and adjacent approaches accidents on a before and after basis and also by comparison with the changes in accidents at intersection signals."

But that is just a mountain of scientific papers. You have your certainty, and I cannot compete with that!


I had papers linked before. Did you not like those?
In addition to the lack of those papers I listed, that source points out something which is rather important: location is everything. You have 8 to 17% increases in crash count, vs more than doubling, in your own quotes. There are undoubtedly places where cameras are effective. Also, places where they aren't. If we take into account the studies I linked in addition to the ones you linked, we have "Location is important to whether these things help" and not much else. Oh, and yellow lights staying longer helps.

Also, your mountain is 8 relevant papers high. Could you possibly be a little more exacting, or less hyperbolic? Either works.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Vaniver » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:14 pm UTC

Bright Shadows wrote:You have 8 to 17% increases in crash count, vs more than doubling, in your own quotes. There are undoubtedly places where cameras are effective.
Those numbers are consistent, though, since cameras aren't everywhere. The increase in total crash count is also necessary to mention as it's a reference point for the performance of areas with cameras. If the areas with cameras experienced a 20% crash increase, and the area as a whole experienced a 20% crash increase, there's no evidence that the cameras had any effect. Here, the areas with cameras experienced a massively larger increase in crashes than the area as a whole. A better number to compare against would be areas without crashes, to know what percentage of the 8 to 17% increase was due to the installation of the cameras.

Also, it wouldn't surprise me if the efficacy of cameras varies heavily with time. When newly installed, drivers may not take them into account, and so it should take some time for them to have deterring effects- but then once drivers start overcorrecting, especially if yellow light times are decreased, they shift to being negative on the whole. The time period for these studies is important to consider.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Bright Shadows » Mon Mar 08, 2010 1:50 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Bright Shadows wrote:You have 8 to 17% increases in crash count, vs more than doubling, in your own quotes. There are undoubtedly places where cameras are effective.
Those numbers are consistent, though, since cameras aren't everywhere. The increase in total crash count is also necessary to mention as it's a reference point for the performance of areas with cameras. If the areas with cameras experienced a 20% crash increase, and the area as a whole experienced a 20% crash increase, there's no evidence that the cameras had any effect. Here, the areas with cameras experienced a massively larger increase in crashes than the area as a whole. A better number to compare against would be areas without crashes, to know what percentage of the 8 to 17% increase was due to the installation of the cameras.

Also, it wouldn't surprise me if the efficacy of cameras varies heavily with time. When newly installed, drivers may not take them into account, and so it should take some time for them to have deterring effects- but then once drivers start overcorrecting, especially if yellow light times are decreased, they shift to being negative on the whole. The time period for these studies is important to consider.

<__<
Why would the area as a whole experience an increase in crash rates? More traffic? The Virginia DoT study apparently corrects for that, go look at that one. It even focuses on intersections, as per the note on page 12 of the pdf, and not vague "areas".

I agree about time being a factor. However, in the same study as I mentioned before, it appeared to be the reverse of what you are saying. That is, there was a more dramatic percent decrease in running red lights early in the installation. I say this because in areas with smaller crash counts, the change was more strongly negative, though this could be a wrong train of thought. There may have just been 90% fewer crashes at some sites or something.
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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Eyat » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:50 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:Also, it wouldn't surprise me if the efficacy of cameras varies heavily with time. When newly installed, drivers may not take them into account, and so it should take some time for them to have deterring effects- but then once drivers start overcorrecting, especially if yellow light times are decreased, they shift to being negative on the whole.


If yellow times are reduced below safe levels that is an entirely different issue. There are sets of equations that govern what you are and aren't allowed to have. The light is supposed to be timed so that a vehicle can have time to stop, which is based upon their speed. This removes a dangerous "dilema zone" where if a vehicle is in that area it can neither pass through the intersection or safely stop. If an government entity lowers its yellow times to the point of being unsafe it is irrelevant whether or not there are cameras that intersection is now very unsafe. My traffic engineering proffesor successfully fought a traffic ticket in california after timing the light.

If a camera is taking pictures of an unsafe intersection, the problem is not with the camera. If the local municipality is shortening yellows to unsafe levels, then you should fight the ticket on that basis. If you are mad that they caught you turning right on red when they are supposed to catch people full on runnig the light (which is the current uproar in my area), well then maybe you should have stopped completely before turning.

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Re: CCTVs Don't Make You Safe

Postby Peter Galbavy » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:58 am UTC

One of the problems is who has a right to view and use the recordedcfootage - but in this example the opposite of privacy. There have been a number of reported cases where people have been either physically attacked or otherwise had criminal activity (pickpocketing etc.) going on around them. The police and the CPS (Criminal Prosecution Service in the UK) refuse to take action but the victim is denied access to the CCTV footage to press a private prosecution. This has happened to one friend of mine whose car was repeatedly vandalised.

CCTV, when used in that way, becomes a pure tool of state control over the population.

So, ask who benefits ?


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