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Program Profile: CCTV in Redton, England

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 10, 2011

Program Summary

The town of Redton, England, installed closed-circuit television cameras in the central commercial district to reduce crime. The program is rated Promising. Using a trend analysis, there was no significant overall crime decrease. However, in analyses of separate types of crime, controlling for trends, the reduction was significant for some types of crime (theft of and from vehicles), but not from others (other theft, shoplifting).

Program Description

Program Goals/Components

The town of Redton, England, installed closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to cover most of the central commercial district, in part in response to concern in the business community about the town center’s decline. Sixty-three cameras were installed in the commercial center, in multistory parking garages, and along the main town center’s arterial roads. The cameras became operational in October 1995. Additionally, 47 “Help Points” were also installed to facilitate two-way communication between the public and the main control room.

 

The system includes three control rooms. The main control room is located at the police station, which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by civilian Police Authority employees. This control room has access to all the cameras; employees located there can override the decisions of the auxiliary control rooms and bear the responsibility for crime prevention and detection by the system. Employees in the main control room can communicate easily with operational police units.

 

Program Theory

The underlying theory for CCTV is deterrence theory, which predicts reductions in crime resulting from potential offenders’ perceptions of increased risk of detection and capture.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1

Crime

Skinns (1998) found that recorded crime was reduced by 16 percent in the town center target area and 6 percent across all the adjacent and potential displacement areas. There was no significant overall crime decrease, however, when a trend analysis was undertaken. In analyses of separate types of crime, controlling for trends, the reduction was significant for some types of crime (theft of and from vehicles), but not from others (other theft, shoplifting).

 

Surveys of car park users, school pupils, and town center users reflected a significant reduction in witnessing crimes after the cameras were installed (e.g., the number of town center users reporting witnessing a crime dropped from 24 percent to 12 percent). Similarly, victimization data reflected the reductions in crime, so that the number of business providers reporting victimization dropped from 89 percent to 65 percent, and town center users, from 5 percent to 3 percent.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1

Skinns (1998) used a quasi-experimental design that used a process model to assess the impact of closed-circuit television (CCTV) on crime rates in Redton’s town center in England and adjoining areas. Data was collected from October 1994 through September 1995, prior to installation, and again from October 1995 through September 1996, the period after installation. Additional data was collected for the surveilled streets for a period of 30 months prior to installation to assess crime trends before cameras were installed.

 

Four data sets were tapped to corroborate findings:

 

·         Police records of crime statistics

·         Before/after victimization data, gathered from surveys of town center users over 16 years of age (n=1,000 for each before/after survey, with 100 percent response rate); parking garage users (n=400 for each survey, with an average response rate of 44 percent); school pupils aged 14–15 (n=69 for the before survey, n=153 for the after survey, with an average response rate of 92 percent); and business providers (n=130 for each survey, with a response rate of 60 percent)

·         Attitude surveys of key workers (e.g., police officers and traffic wardens) and representatives of the public and business community

·         Interviews with young offenders

 

Main offense categories considered included all offenses, burglary, other thefts, shoplifting, theft from a motor vehicle, theft of a motor vehicle, criminal damage, robbery, assault, sexual offenses, public order offenses, and other offenses. Analysis used two-way analysis of variance and Tukey’s method [2ANOVA(T)] and seasonally adjusted, linear regression calculations and t tests. A significance level of 5 percent was used for all analyses.

 

Comparison areas were constructed around the town center area to determine the extent of crime displacement or diffusion of benefits. In total, eight distinct areas were selected to help identify trends and assess the extent of diffusion or displacement. One control area was licensed premises within the CCTV area to see if crime had been pushed inside. Adjacent townships and police districts were also assessed to control for trends or displacement.

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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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Other Information

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The study refers to Redton, England, however, a footnote explains that this is a pseudonym for Doncaster, England.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1

Skinns, D. 1998. "Crime Reduction, Diffusion, and Displacement: Evaluating the Effectiveness of CCTV." In C. Norris, J. Moran, and G. Armstrong (eds.). Surveillance, Closed Circuit Television, and Social Control. Aldershot, England: Ashgate.


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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) Surveillance
Public surveillance systems include a network of cameras and components for monitoring, recording, and transmitting video images. The ultimate goal of installing public surveillance cameras is to reduce both property and personal crime. The practice was rated Promising for reducing overall crime and property offenses (i.e. vehicle crimes), but rated No Effects on impacting violent crime.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Property offenses
No Effects - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Violent offenses
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Program Snapshot

Gender: Both

Geography: Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting, High Crime Neighborhoods/Hot Spots

Program Type: Community and Problem Oriented Policing, Community Crime Prevention , Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design/Design Against Crime, Situational Crime Prevention, General deterrence