I read the article Keeping CCTV in Its Place by Michael Minieri and I agree with the points that were made. Too many times people have a misconception about CCTV, whether it is its uses or its limitations.
There can be no way of knowing whether having visible CCTV cameras prevents crimes from happening. There are no statistics for crimes that are not committed but having CCTV cameras can make that location less appealing to a criminal. A crime may still be committed but maybe down the street. Does that mean that all crime will be deterred? No, but if it stops one, it is worth it. For a business that has customers coming and going one of the extras that come from a CCTV system is a sense of added security. Visible security cameras are the same as bright lighting when it comes to producing an environment of safety. That added feeling of safety may create an atmosphere that is uninviting to criminals.
The greatest benefit of a CCTV system comes not from preventing a crime but from documenting one. It allows a video of the crime and a picture of the criminal versus a description of the event and a sketch of the criminal based on memory. That will aid in the capture and prosecution of the criminal. It also catches crimes not noticed at the time. Through review of video we can identify problem areas and use more traditional security measures to prevent more crime. For example; even though there is a camera pointed at a door, go ahead and make sure it is locked too.
Let us also remember that CCTV technology has also given us the ability to inspect enclosed spaces safely and not just for general surveillance. It’s use in drains, chimneys and other unsafe or inaccessible locations has been a huge boost to health and safety issues in the workplace.