Effective Surveillance

by Mark Medwecki

In May 2009, the Guardian newspaper (in the UK) featured an article quoting research that concluded that the impact of CCTV on overall crime is “modest” but that it is effective in reducing vehicle crime in car parks. The previous year the Association of Chief Police Officers determined that CCTV was effective in the detection of only 3% of all crime; this could be considered a worry as most police officers (not only in the UK) will tell you that CCTV is more useful in crime detection than in crime prevention.

So, it is necessary to understand what CCTV is and what its capabilities are. The reports that conclude that CCTV has limited effectiveness in preventing and detecting crime may be missing the point. In specific scenarios, such as airports, it is impossible to conceive how such a facility could even function without CCTV deployment on a very large scale. At the end of the day, the efficacy of CCTV comes down to two major issues: the cost of manpower and the limitations of staff – the human factor in aviation terminology.