Do Cameras Reduce Crime Rates?
If you will be in Buckhead in the future, be sure to look up and see if you notice anything new. The police are planning on installing 50 new cameras in the area, all in an effort to reduce crime. Various parts of the neighborhoods will have eyes in the sky, albeit electronic eyes. While some citizens are worried about privacy, others are hopeful that crime will be reduced. If the project works in Buckhead, it may trickle to other areas.
Thirty of the cameras to be installed will be in place to read license plate numbers. Twenty other cameras will be controlled by the Atlanta Police Department. Officers manning the cameras will be able to control them, zooming in on any suspected crimes. The pending installation has people wondering if cameras really deter crime. For example, will a would-be criminal forego their intended activity because of a camera, or will they simply move on to an area, and victim, that isn’t monitored?
The Effectiveness of Cameras
According to studies conducted by the Urban Institute, the answer to that question is both yes and no. In some areas, crime was reduced after the installation of cameras. In other areas, crime remained unchanged. The difference, said the Institute, was how the cameras were used. Factors in whether or not the cameras reduced crime included where they were installed, how they were monitored and how many there were.
One factor, the monitoring of the cameras, is an expense that many departments don’t consider when installing cameras. While some criminals may be deterred simply by the presence of rooftop lenses, others won’t even notice they are there. If police officers aren’t paid to monitor the cameras, they are virtually useless. There are privacy concerns that may arise from the constant monitoring of the public, but there is little to no expectation of privacy when someone is walking down a city block.
A factor that works in conjunction with correct monitoring is in proper presentation. In today’s society, jurors expect high-tech, high-quality forensics. If an officer pans away, only catching part of a crime, or if the crime is filmed in inclement weather making it difficult to see, the jury may be less inclined to convict. Prosecutors need to be trained, as do law enforcement officials, in the appropriate presentation of the evidence.
While cameras have reduced crime in some areas, they don’t work in all areas. Before cities install cameras in an effort to deter crime, they should first research their proper use. When cameras are installed and monitored the right way, they can definitely have the intended effect.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Atlanta, whether caught on camera or not, you need an experienced defense attorney fighting for your rights. A conviction can have lasting consequences on your reputation, your employment and your life. Call Hawkins Spizman Fortas today for a free case evaluation and let us help you determine your best options as you move forward with your defense.