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Program Profile: CCTV in Gillingham, England

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on June 10, 2011

Program Summary

A program to install closed-circuit television cameras in the town center and adjacent car parks in Gillingham, England. The program is rated Promising. There was a reduction of crime in the treatment area, specifically driven by declines in property crime. However, violent crime increased in the treatment and comparison area. These increases were statistically significant.

Program Description

Program Goal/Target Site

The public spaces in Gillingham, England’s High Street and the town center car parks were selected for closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) installation in order to reduce criminal activity in public spaces and increase feelings of safety for members of the community.

 

Program Components

At the time of the study, Gillingham was a combination of a market town and a suburban center and thus represented a slightly different venue than the metropolitan city areas often selected for CCTV installation.

 

In 1997, seven CCTV cameras were installed along High Street, much of which is a pedestrian zone, and in the adjacent car parks. The cameras could be used to identify individuals, groups, and car plate numbers in the majority of High Street and the car parks. Security staff monitored the cameras 24 hours each day, one operator per shift.

 

Program Theory

Crime prevention theory suggests that CCTV can reduce crime rates by increasing the probability that offenders will be caught; by increasing the perceived risk of offending; by increasing usage of space, which can, in turn, increase natural surveillance; and by increasing the effective deployment of police and security personnel.

 

Evaluation Outcomes

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Crime Rates

Griffiths (2003) found that the treatment area of Gillingham, England, where the closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) were installed, experienced a 35 percent reduction in crime over a 5-year period, while the comparison area had a minimal .05 percent reduction. The treatment area experienced a 44 percent reduction in crime the 1st year, and then a 32 percent decrease across years 1 through 5. This reduction was driven by declines in property crime. The comparison area seemed to benefit initially from the introduction of CCTV in Gillingham in the 1st year of operation, but then crime rates rose and leveled off at the higher level. An analysis estimated that, due to the installation, 2,104 crimes were prevented in Gillingham over the course of the 5 years.

 

Violent Crime

Overall, violent crime was not reduced, but actually increased by 32 percent in Gillingham.  Violent crime rose by 37 percent in the comparison area.  These increases were statistically significant.

 

Property Crime

Property crime was reduced in the treatment area, particularly thefts from vehicles (reduced by 33 percent), other thefts (reduced by 36 percent), and criminal damage (reduced by 22 percent). In the comparison area, thefts from vehicles dropped by 4 percent, other thefts rose by 14 percent, and criminal damage rose by 29 percent.  Both areas experienced drops in shoplifting rates (49 percent in Gillingham and 58 percent in the comparison area). All changes were statistically significant.

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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1

Griffiths (2003) used a quasi-experimental design with a comparison group to assess the impact of closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV) in Gillingham, England’s town center on crime rates. The comparison group was equivalent and matched on different variables, such as resident population, economically active residents aged 16–59, value-added tax (VAT) registered enterprises, VAT registered enterprises by industry, employee jobs, income support claims, indices of deprivation, and crime rates.

 

The study used Medway (a division of Kent in England) Police Business Information Unit’s data of reported crime rates in both the treatment and control areas; these rates were tracked for 5 years. The main statistical analysis was a comparison of average annual totals of specific categories of crime between the two areas.

 

Other actions (e.g., improved lighting in key areas, a neighborhood watch scheme) had already been taken in Gillingham as part of a regeneration effort, which was initiated in 1994.

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Cost

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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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
Griffiths, Matthew. (2003). “Town Centre CCTV: An Examination of Crime Reduction in Gillingham, Kent.” Reading, England: University of Reading.
http://www.popcenter.org/Responses/video_surveillance/PDFs/Griffith_nd.pdf
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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: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Community Awareness/Mobilization, Community Crime Prevention , Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design/Design Against Crime, Situational Crime Prevention, General deterrence

Current Program Status: Active