Does CCTV help police solve crime?


This study examines the impact of CCTV footage on clearance rates for crimes occurring on the rail network in New South Wales. Nearest neighbour matching was used to compare criminal matters with and without camera footage. Cases were matched on principal offence type, spatial and temporal characteristics and offence severity. Overall, 24.8 percent of matters where footage was requested were solved by police, compared with 21.0 percent of matters where footage was not requested—an 18 percent increase in clearance rates. Footage was provided to police for nine out of 10 requests and was associated with an estimated 20 percent increase in clearance rates. Results varied by offence type, with larger increases observed for theft and property damage than for assault, and for offences at night. Timely access to CCTV footage for criminal investigations is associated with increased clearance rates for crimes on the rail network.


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