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CCTV - Priority Expediency or Necessity

CCTV

It was common knowledge, that as crime evolves, strategies shall be developed in curbing crime and criminals. Most have demonstrated sophistication in their “...Modus Operandi” and have become moreaggressive, menacing, brutal and deadly.”

Consequently, Law enforcement administrators were required to consider devising methodologies in coping with the troubling incidence of crime. Then at a time when the national Law enforcement agency appeared “...starved for resources” and had to be assisted with logistics by Director of the Office of National Drug Control and Money Laundering Policy (ONDCP) Edward Croft [Caribarena: March 15, 2014], the nation was embarking on an ambitious “ ...Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) project to aid Law enforcement crime fighting efforts.

 

ADVENT OF TECHNOLOGY

 

Therefore, the “...Advent of Technology” has seen many developed and developing nations turned to technologies in aiding in the “...fight against crime.” Though installations of such technologies were said to be the “...single most heavily funded crime prevention measure” outside the Criminal Justice System and the impact on crime was said to be “...Modest,” many citizens, private entities and government bodies have resorted to their use for added security. Research revealed that in the United Kingdom, between “...1999 and 2001, “...Installation; ...Operational and Maintenance costs were estimated at one hundred and seventy (£170, 000, 000) million pounds” [Campbell Collaborations]. It was also shown that many entities had used “...CCTV cameras,” for monitoring “...industrialized machine operations; ... “...operational safety; ...homes and humans in the workplaces,” as well as for “...deterring and detecting employee pilferage and/or criminal intrusions.” Consequently, Law enforcement authorities had sought to maximize its use in “...crime fighting.” British Law enforcement administrators were reportedly, the first to have “...experimented with CCTV” in the 1970’s and 1980’s.”

 

BRITISH INITIATIVE

 

The first installations of CCTV cameras were said to have been carried out in the “...Bournemouth.” Several larger trial programmes were said to have been done later in the decade” [Wikipedia: 1985]. With a short catchy phrase intended to win public support, it read “...CCTV-Looking out for you.” In 2009 North Eastern University and the University of Cambridge reportedly examined “...Public Areas where CCTV were installed and Crime Prevention.” Collectively, both had reportedly surveyed “...44 studies from the United Kingdom to the United States cities of “...Cincinnati and New York.” The report cited eleven studies were done outside the United Kingdom, including four in the United States.” They had declared the “...CCTV experiments successful” [Campbell Collaborations].

 

AUSTRALIAN INITIATIVE

 

Further research showed that the “...Australian Government CCTV initiative” had incurred significant costs. This was attributed to “...installations and ongoing recurrent operations” [Wilson and Sutton: 2003]. The researchers had selected the Australian cities with varying populations, with existing technological equipment installed. These include “ ...Sydney-$900, 000; ...Melbourne- $400, 000; ...Adelaide- $310, 000; ...Ipswich- $444, 000;  ...Fairfield- $340, 000; ...Toowoomba- $85, 000” [Wilson and Sutton: 2003]. They had concluded that the CCTV initiative makes it “...expensive to implement and operate.”  Anecdotally, the researchers posited that “...The UK Police seeks recording after the crime has been committed” [Wikipedia]. As a “...deterrence,” analysts have argued that “...There is still much research to be done to determine the effectiveness of CCTV on crime deterrence, before any conclusion can be drawn” [Wikipedia]. The “...deadly Chinese stabbings” speak to the ineffectiveness in deterrence.

 

HUMAN FACTOR - VARIABLES

 

Though the analysts have suggested “...inconclusive crime fighting effectiveness in the use of CCTV cameras,” it was the contention that the “...Technological Aids” had proved useful in providing (i) “...Imagery; and (ii) ...Tracing and Tracking vehicles, suspects and victims.” The findings, showed that the cameras were most effective in “...Parking Areas” and were said to have decreased crime by 51%.” In Public Transportation areas, criminal activities reportedly showed a “...decrease of 23%,” while “...Public Settings” were said to be the “...least effective.” From an overall assessment, it showed a 7% crime reduction.” Other areas were said to have shown “...Insignificant Decrease” [Wikipedia]. Interestingly, findings also show that the “...CCTV” systems were not more effective than the “...Human Factors – presence and visibility for prevention and/or deterrence; ...quick response; ...apprehension in the act; ...effective investigations; ...arrests and prosecutions.” However, variables such as “...proper street lighting and crime-fighting strategies, including intelligence gathering had not only helped Law enforcement, but have also affected the effectiveness of CCTV.”

 

OBJECTIVES v COST EFFECTIVENESS

 

When the crime fighting concept was initially introduced in the United Kingdom, CCTV was considered a “...CHEAPER way to deter crime, comparing to increasing the size of Police Departments.” Thus, as perceived needs arisen, millions of cameras had been purchased and strategically installed in “...City centers; ...railway stations; ...airports; ...major retail areas; ...car parks; ...street corners and crime-infested areas” in many nations across the globe [Campbell Collaborations]. Ignoring costs, optimistic results may have prompted the initiative. Thus, the idea was to aid the human factor in “...Deterring and/or Reducing Crime” with the primary “...Operational Objectives” being the provision of ease of access to information through camera-surveillance.” However, in the House of Lords Report, it was shown that in the “...decade leading up to 2006, five hundred (£500, 000, 000) million pounds were expended on CCTV cameras” [Campbell Collaboration]. [Lords Report: 2009]. Except for providing recorded imagery, the experts had argued that it was “...not cost effective as perceived” [Wikipedia].

 

GUN CRIME

 

In most jurisdictions as it has been in this jurisdiction, “...Gun Crime” has been impacting negatively on public safety, leaving people in timidity by a “...trail of death, destruction and injuries.” Without fear of contradiction, law abiding citizens have felt the effects, resonating from “...Untold Terror.” The criminals have plundered communities, wreaked havoc on society, placing unarmed and defenceless citizens at their “...mercy.” For instance, emboldened robbers have attacked and either “...robbed and/or injured the innocent citizens.” In some instances, they have “...pistol-whipped or gunned down home owners; ...vendors; ...small and large business proprietors and employers.” These occurrences, therefore, have given citizens good reasons to demand that Law enforcement bring respite to the hapless and helpless.

 

CITIZENS MISERIES

 

Thus, when the nation’s criminal history shall have been written, it may reflect that while few members of its 75, 000 people had legitimately borne arms. An estimated 25 armed bandits had roamed the streets, terrorizing citizens and injecting fear into their hearts.” Adding to “...Citizens Miseries,” bandits continue to inflict unspeakable violence upon unsuspecting victims more than they were able to “...counter, repel and/or deliver.” Such may have been the traumatic experience of Rickford Benjamin’s family. They were reportedly “...robbed at gunpoint of wedding rings and money” [March 8, 2014].

Thus, with an average of “...one dangerous gunman to every 3, 000 unarmed residents,” victims had most feared those with the propensity in “...using illegal weapons with deadly consequences.” Therefore, given their inability to stave off violent criminal attacks, unarmed citizens have found themselves precariously placed for that which armed gunmen were capable of descending upon victims- “ ...GUN WRATH.”

 

OPERATIONAL PLANS

 

With or without technology, it has been the experience that in most “...Operational Plans,” questions over “...necessity, expediency and priority,” have always been raised. Invariably, when costs were seen as exorbitant, for reasons of “...Expediency,” that which was considered implementable was never a “...Necessity.” Yet to all intents and purposes, it was given “...Priority.” Conversely, that which was considered a “...Necessity,” was never given priority and/or due consideration for implementation. In keeping abreast with technological advancement, the nation has embarked upon a “...Closed Circuit Television (CCTV” project. Though the “...Experimental Project,” was not the solution to crime, it may, nonetheless, be seen as an attempt in harnessing human skills with technology and other scientific aids, intended for the “ ...Determent of Criminals.” Their effectiveness, however, will be dependent upon several critical factors; (i) ...Strategic crime-infested locations; (ii) ...How efficiently they may function; (iii) ...How cost effective to operate, maintain and accessibility to resources for effecting repairs; and (iv) ...How responsive Law enforcement may be.” More importantly, there shall be the ready availability of technical skills for troubleshooting in ensuring operational efficiency.

 

ELEMENT OF SURPRISE

 

Unlike the professionally trained Law enforcement personnel, the “...Element of Surprise” has always made it difficult for citizens to react to criminals, particularly armed robbers. Unaided by CCTV cameras, they had applied their “...Powers of Observation, employed alertness and vigilance in taking a would-be criminal by “...Surprise.” Thus, while law enforcement administrators reportedly sought to enforce restrictions on “...Moonlighting Personnel,” two plainclothes police officers reportedly engaged by a highway supermarket as “...private security guards,” had demonstrated effectiveness in the use of such “...Powers.” This had led to the arrest of a “...potential robber” who was reportedly “...armed with a loaded .38 pistol.”

 

RESTRICTIVE ENGAGEMENTS

 

Clearly, it was not necessarily their “...restrictive engagements” that counted, but that which was desirably and commendably achieved. Undoubtedly, they may have thwarted that which has often “...left victims with serious injuries and families in grief and sorrow.” There may be “...Operational Lessons” for all letter of law commanders. Crime Managers shall know that “...Plans for street crime in roving SUV” are far different to that which shall be strategically planned for “...Fixed Targets.” The officers were unreservedly commended by National Security Minister Dr. Errol Cort for their professional vigilance” [Observer Media: March 13, 2014].

 

BRITISH PERSPECTIVE

 

Research revealed that in 2008, British authorities had sanctioned reviews by criminologists and other experts, in determining the effectiveness of “...Closed Circuit Television cameras (CCTV) in crime prevention.” In a Report to the House of Lords, it was revealed that the solvability rate per 1, 000 CCTV cameras was ‘...ONE crime.” This had prompted questions of costs.” Thus, it may also have been the result of analyses which showed that “...Only 3% of crime was solved with the aid of CCTV Cameras.” Hence, “...97 % of solved crimes” will have been achieved through “...human factor including scientific aids.” The “...Image Magazine” estimated that “...1.9 million Cameras –private and public had been installed across the nation.” It was also estimated that there was “...one camera to every 32 United Kingdom residents.” A significant number was said to have been installed by “...home owners for added security,” while business owners had primarily installed cameras for “...protecting financial interests.”

 

US PERSPECTIVE

 

Like in other nations, installations of CCTV Cameras in the United States were for the purposes of “...Reducing Crime and Increasing Public Safety.” Researchers revealed that “...over a four year period, CCTV cameras helped in solving 4, 500 crimes.” Conversely, over the same period more than 1, 000,000 crimes were committed.” In the solvability rate, CCTV was said to have contributed only “...0.05%.” In Chicago “...15,000 cameras” were said to have been installed in public areas, while many were said to have been installed in “...high-end New York residences.” In Oakland California, a US$7M City-wide Surveillance network was said to have been installed” [Barry Paddock et al: NY Daily News: July 13, 2013]. Some US$42M was reportedly allotted for CCTV Cameras installations in crime-infested areas, particularly, the New York City Housing Authority.” None had been installed” [NY Daily News: 2009].

 

VIOLENT CRIMINALS

 

Far away in the orient, Law enforcement authorities had made it clear that “...Violent Criminals” shall be dealt with “...appropriately and decisively.” Such resolution came from Security Chief Meng Jianzhu, following the gruesome killings and brutal stabbings by a dozen knife-wielding terrorists, who succeeded in “ ...snuffing out the lives of 29 defenceless people, while 130 were left nursing serious injuries.” In spite of a natural right in “...protecting life,” many people had encountered extreme difficulties in effectively doing so with “...measured response.” Most have been unable, through legitimate means in arming themselves. This appeared to have been made difficult even by constraints experienced by Law enforcement due to inadequacy of “...resources” and/or a resolve in pursuing and bringing dangerous criminals to justice. When suspects became elusive, there was usually more talks of “...Armed, Violent and Dangerous,” than there were vigorous efforts in either apprehending, disarming; ...curtailing violence in eliminating the danger” [Observer Media: March 10, 2014].

 

TRIALS OR BURIALS 

 

Media reports quoted the tough talking Security Chief, as saying “...We must mobilize all resources and ‘...ADOPT’ all means to break this case” [AP: March 2, 2014]. Contrastingly, within this jurisdiction, the language appeared much milder. When gunmen struck, citizens had found the repetitive rhetoric equally as irritating as the criminal act. The sentiments included “...Crime is everybody’s business; to ...zero tolerance” and from “...joint patrols to ...random stop and search by Law enforcement with Military assistance; to perpetrators will be brought to justice.” This may have been easier said than done. Seemingly after the “...talking stops, everything else stops” until the next report was received. Chinese response was “...Measured and decisively delivered by specially trained Law enforcement personnel. Employing the “...skilled exploits of sharpshooters,” in halting the carnage, they had reportedly “...stopped several of the rampaging knife-wielding criminals in their deadly pursuits.” When the operations were all over, “...one knife-wielder was captured alive for trial; ...five were ready for burials; while some six others had evaded police dragnet.” They have been precariously positioned for the hunt, either for “...Trials or Burials.”

 

CHINESE LESSONS

 

Occurrences such as these, have always occupied the attention of “...Security Chiefs and Public Safety Ministers.” Thus, there were always lessons to be learned from the experiences of others. The horrific scenes of blood covered bodies left at the “...Kunming Railway Station,” not only speak to the magnitude of the carnage, but also the gruesome nature of the deadly acts of violence perpetrated against innocent men, women and children.” Chinese officials had described the attackers as “...Cold-blooded Terrorists.” A US News portal notes “...Cameras (CCTV) positioned in and outside Kunming’s station is likely to have captured the slaughter in its ghoulish entirety” [National Post: March 3, 2014]. Appreciating the hideous acts committed by a “...dozen knife-wielding Chinese criminals,” in acknowledging China’s friendship and generosity, even its lopsided trading exploits,” Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Baldwin Spencer had conveyed “...Condolences to the Government and people of the Republic of China.”

 

PREDATORY VIOLENCE

 

Seemingly, with increasing frequency, they have been terrorizing citizens and viciously attacking “...individuals; ...families; ...businesses and even plundering religious sanctuaries of electronic items.

Criminals, therefore, have shown no fear, neither for “...God nor man.” Therefore, Law enforcement could not have been suggesting to religious leaders to install CCTV or to engage the services of private Security companies to protect “...God’s Sanctuaries.” However, as masked gunmen continue to inflict “...Predatory Violence” upon defenceless citizens, “...Press Liaison officers,” have been seeking to down-play the “...grave nature of the situation.” For instance, the agency had recently informed citizens that the “...nation was not losing the fight against Crime” [Caribarena: February 19, 2014]. Yet the agency had suggested that the corporate citizen “...consider incurring additional expenses in (i) “...Purchasing Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and/or (ii) ...Hiring Private Security Guards, while others may employ residential guards.” Such assertion may have been inconsistent with that which has been frequently experienced by victims.

 

LAST RESORT

 

Even with an expressed willingness in fighting the bandits, it was apparent that Law enforcement was unable to effectively protect citizens from the smoking guns of bandits. Adding to citizen’s miseries, “...lawful acquisition of protective weapons was suggested to be their “...Last Resort.” Many citizens had found themselves in positions where there was “...No Place to Run or Hide.” Hence, the armed bandits had prevailed, inflicting pain on victims and leaving families grief-stricken. Though the National Security Minister may have anticipated that which was ever lurking, it might be better understood from the experiences of world-renowned social commentator Mighty Sparrow. Summing it up “...humorously,” he sang “...Just imagine my position; ...No Police in the area; ...Bottle and stones falling, but no place to shelter.” Though running was an option, there was “...no place to hide.” Suddenly, there was an explosion “...Podow Pow, and man start to scatter.” Sparrow remained fearlessly steadfast, suggesting that he was in possession of “...something that made vicious men run” [Ten to one is Murder: 1960].

 

BRUTALIZED CLOBBERED AND ROBBED

 

National Security Minister Senator Dr. Errol Cort was very much aware of recent gun attacks that speak to the growing incidence of violent crime. For instance, gun attacks were launched on “...Horst Sherping 63, senselessly killed; ...Bruce Watt 72, terrorized and robbed at his Night Club; ...businessman George Lewis 72, brutally beaten at his Horsford Hill residence, and John Murray 58, ...crow-bar clobbered” at his residence.” Both ended up at the Mount St. John Medical Facility nursing “...serious bodily and head injuries.” Even more frightening, both victims were reportedly “...relieved of their Licensed Firearms.” These speak to the vicious and deadly nature of crime. Even so, at a time when the unchecked gunmen were “...terrorizing communities; ...robbing with impunity; ...shooting citizens and mercilessly inflicting violence upon victims, “...legitimate acquisition of licensed firearms” for personal protection, had been a worrying challenge to many applicants. Recognizing the plight and vulnerability of citizens, he may have listened attentively to their “...incessant, desperate and frantic cries.”

 

SURVEILLANCE CAPABILITIES

 

Though attempts at “...harnessing technology” with the human factor and scientific aids, may be seen as desirable in enhancing the “...Surveillance Capabilities” and/or effectiveness of Law enforcement in its fight against violent crime,” it was recognized that other factors had to be at work. Mindful of the situation and the “...likelihood of misconceptions and/or false beliefs,” Further sensing the gravity of the existing crime situation, he may have listened to the frantic cries of the “...hapless and defenceless citizens.” He may have seen and surmised enough to know that much more had to be done in bringing respite to terror-stricken citizens. Prime Minister Dr. Baldwin Spencer prudently noted “...Introducing the CCTV system is NOT a solution, but will go a long way in providing response that is needed to detect and survey the environment as far as it relates to curbing crime” [Caribarena: February 21, 2014].

 

TECHNOLOGICAL PLAN

 

Sensing the gravity of the situation, the National Security Minister may have “...heard enough and concluded that citizens should be free from criminal attacks.” When tragedy had struck families, he had shown personal and official concerns. With some visibility, he had attended “...public funerals and marches and participated in vigils and remembrance services” for those who had been tragically killed by masked gunmen. On the technological side, in an attempt to enhance the capabilities of Law enforcement, he had embarked upon a “...multi-million dollar Experimental Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Project” [February 21, 2014]. The technological equipment were said to be a “...Crime Fighting Tool.” This involves a “...110 diverse cameras and sensors to be installed across the nation, with some 28 earmarked for installation within the commercial center of St. John. The“...two-phased project was estimated at a cost of US$2.5M” [Caribarena: February 21, 2014]. Demonstrating a desire in reducing and/or controlling crime to a tolerable level, the National Security Minister may have been satisfied that human skills and efforts will be greatly enhanced with “...Technological Augmentation.”

 

MODERNIZING POLICE SERVICE

 

Ironically, when local representatives of entities “...not concerned in the production of CCTV Cameras,” along with attorneys not “...administrating Law enforcement agencies and/or enforcing law,” spoke to the “...effectiveness of CCTV Cameras in the fight against crime,” clearly they may have seen “...huge commercial profits and substantial Retainer’s Fees” [Big Issues: February 23, 2014]. The Surveillance market was estimated to grow “...from US$11 billion in 2008 to US$37.7 billion in 2015.” Thus, other than “...commercial viability in sourcing technological equipment for third parties,” those participated in the discussion had not produced evidence of the “...Technological Impact” on (i) ...Prevention; (ii) ...Reduction of crime and/or (iii) ...Deterrent effect on criminals.” While those with vested commercial interests advocated, skeptics pondered over the effectiveness and sustainability of CCTV. Critics on the other hand, associated the initiative with “...financial recklessness.” Many, however, suggested that the estimated cost may have been adequate for “...Modernizing the Police Service.” Thus, they have looked at (ii)...refurbishment of dilapidated Police Stations; (iii) ...construction of new precincts at Carty’s Hill and Parham; (iv) ...preparing personnel professionally with skill-sets; and for recruitment and training of suitably qualified personnel.” As if affect “...Quick Response,” many have argued that “...Law enforcement visibility” on the streets and within the communities may have a more deterrent effect than strategically located cameras.

 

MOBILE CRIMINALS

 

Mobile criminals have been known to have avoided “...closely-knit communities,” particularly those least suited for their “...criminal exploits.” For instance, the records may reflect few incidents of robbery had occurred in the “...Newfield; ...Freetown; ...Old Road and Five Islands communities.” The existing“...One way In/Out” roadways,” provides “...No escape route for those factoring in their exploits “...fast and easy get away.” This was also evident in the quiet “...isolated community of Port Royal” [Jamaica]. It was to the citizen’s knowledge, that most of the recent criminal attacks were reportedly “...concentrated in the peripheral areas just outside the city center.” Invariably, these were extended to the suburban communities. With only “...one way in and one way out,” mobile criminals were known to be fearful of being cornered either by “...vigilantes and/or the fire power of Security forces.” Thus, with no place to run or hide or seek refuge, “...Mobile Criminals tread not where angels fear.” Given such conclusions, it shall have been “...reasonably suspected” by Law enforcement that “...Gunmen” have been perpetrating “...carefully planned and clinically executed robberies,” targeting business people and homeowners, where escape was very easy and interception was unlikely.”

 

CONCLUSION

 

As had been the experience of many vulnerable people across the globe, citizens have been the victims of some of the “...most vicious, heinous and/or brutal crimes ever to have been perpetrated against humanity.” This may have been evident from recent violent criminal acts that had placed every citizen on edge. Hence, just as the “...streets and other public places have become unsafe, so too are “...homes; ...business places and the ...Lord’s Sanctuary.” There was no doubt that surges in crime have given citizens reasons to be mortally afraid. This situation had prompted numerous official pronouncements, including “...Armed and Dangerous.” Coincidentally, with no apprehensions, when these repetitive utterances were spewed, “...injuries and/or death had visited upon defenceless and innocent citizens.” Thus, the apparent “ ...terrorizing experiences and traumatic effects on hapless citizens by “ ...Gun-Toting or Knife-Wielding Bandits,” and an apparent inability of the security forces in stemming the frequency of gun attacks, may have forced National Security Minister Honourable Senator Dr. Errol Cort to  “...summon the Security Chiefs to an extraordinary meeting,” “...Half read the Riot Act,” and demanded more effective “...criminal control and effective curtailment of gun crime” [Caribarena: January 4, 2013]. Even with the apparent “...isolated headquartered location hindering the ability of a “ ...Crime Task Force,” in arriving at scenes, “ ...Strategies for Road Networking” that may aid quick response might be developed so as to determine suitable locations where the CCTV Cameras may be strategically installed to facilitate “ Interception; ...Tracking; ...Tracing mobile and dangerous gunmen.”

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2 Comments In This Article   

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Island visitor

#2 Edward Perry » 2014-03-30 22:13

I believe that the Government/Police would do well in investing in more Police Officers than CCTV. This is the most foolish investment I can think of and here's why. Most of the serious crime in Antigua takes place in areas where CCTV will not be placed, and soon those CCTV will become like the street lights in need of woeful repairs. This Government spends no money on repairs, in point of fact just look at the Cultural Center. When those cameras are installed and the service contracts end...that's it. Invest in Man power and equip them with good vehicles
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Edward Perry

GREAT ARTICLE

#1 Citizen » 2014-03-11 04:57

I will prefer a well-armed Police Force with fast response time in the place of CCTV to catch bandits in their tracks or invest the money in additional trained armed citizens to work as under cover Cops to supplement or increase the security presence.
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Citizen

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