Do surveillance cameras really have an effect on crime? Researchers in recent published studies say “Yes”
In a study by Mikael Priks of the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, newly installed surveillance cameras in subway stations in Stockholm, Sweden were shown to decrease crime in that area. Cameras were installed in over 80 subway stations in Stockholm and stayed in operation for two years. The overall crime rate in these usually high-crime stations was reduced by 20 percent, and incidences of robbery, drug-related crime and pickpocketing were reduced by 20-40%. What was also found was that crime outside of the stations where there weren’t any cameras was also reduced.
In Baltimore, Maryland, the city placed hundreds of security cameras in the high-crime and downtown areas. These cameras are “actively monitored” by retired police officers. A study done on this surveillance system showed that there has been a reduction of at least 30 incidents of criminal activity per month since installment. According to the Urban Institute, while the city spent a whopping $8 million on the system (installation and maintenance), they have saved over $12 million in criminal justice costs!
Although the success rate of crime reduction in security camera use depends on users actively monitoring the system , the majority of studies about this subject come to the conclusion that camera surveillance is indeed a great tool to prevent crime in public spaces, homes, and businesses.