Australian Institute of Criminology

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Police detainee perspectives on CCTV

Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no. 538

Matthew Willis, Emmeline Taylor, Murray Lee and Alexandra Gannoni
ISSN 0817-8542
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, October 2017

Abstract | Surveillance technologies have been playing an increasingly important role in crime prevention and detection, particularly with costeffective improvements in resolution and mobility. There remains mixed evidence on the effectiveness of this technology for deterrence and detection and whether use results in displacement. In this study, 899 adult police detainees were interviewed about their views and experiences of CCTV through an addendum to the Drug Use Monitoring in Australia (DUMA) program. Police detainees tended to regard CCTV as effective in reducing crime, particularly violent crime, but a significant number felt it would not prevent any crime. Nonetheless, for some the presence of CCTV deterred them from committing crime, although detainees were more likely to carry out their intended behaviours regardless of CCTV. Detainees identified a range of simple strategies for avoiding surveillance cameras, such as covering their face or turning away from the cameras. The findings have implications for the continued use of CCTV as a crime prevention and reduction tool.