Without getting into the controversies about the advantages and disadvantages relating to the use of surveillance cameras in some of the countries and cities located all over our lonely planet, this blog post unveils the opinions expressed by people inhabiting these places.
“Even though we have no objection to cameras installed at specific high-profile public places that are potential terrorist targets,” says Peter Anderson, PhD student and part time driver of a delivery van in New York City, “the impulse to blanket our public spaces and streets with video surveillance is a bad idea for the following reasons.”
Although CCTV cameras are usually deployed to control petty crime, but here also the issue has not been demonstrated fully. “We should have learnt the lesson from Britain where these cameras are extensively used, yet social researchers have found that they have hardly been able to put any control over the issue. An updated study for the British Home office has revealed that these cameras did not cut crime or even the fear of crime in Britain.
“When people talk about the ‘effectiveness’ of CCTV,” says Natasha Mannion, Australian news reporter, “they are really referring to two quite distinct processes – deterrence and detection. Deterrence refers to their preventing a would-be offender from committing a crime. But unfortunately, studies reveal that these systems are least effective at deterring the crimes that we are most fearful of – interpersonal violence or crimes involving drugs or alcohol.”
Overall, most Aussies believe that the efficacy of CCTV as a crime prevention tool is indeed questionable. What’s more, the government sponsored assessment of these systems in UK has found that only 1 of 14 systems could produce a reasonable reduction in crime. Simultaneously, a Gold Coast study observed that they do not prevent any type of offending, but can assist in detecting. Images can no doubt be an effective forensic tool, aiding an investigation, but this particular feature should not be overestimated for all practical purposes.
New Zealand has gone one step ahead of others in installing and using CCTV in their country. Civic authorities in a Kiwi city have recruited dozens of volunteers to monitor CCTV cameras as part of the fight against crime.
“I am a detail person. I notice things that look suspicious,” said Andrew Dinsdale, an ex-auditor from KPMG (renowned Auditor firm) who is one of the fifty odd volunteers that keep constant watch over Wellington’s inner city CCTV cameras. Dinsdale spends four shifts a month, scanning live monitors and searching for most wanted criminals as also missing persons, while maintaining records of social issues such as begging and basking, which is illegal in New Zealand. He also takes part in solving crimes or tackling emergencies.
For instance, whenever a fire breaks out, or a dubious drug trade appears on the monitor, Dinsdale immediately picks up the police radio phone to provide all the information to the police patrol car to take instant action.
“With the ever increasing levels of insecurity, criminality, terrorism, robbery, theft and the like in Kampala and other places in Uganda,” says Modes Rei, a social worker, “we should all restlessly sweep the area for solutions to these unbearable misbehaviors. Fundamental efforts should be directed towards making this beautiful country a better place for all people to live in peacefully and happily without worry and fear of the circumstances and results of these pointed out raising misbehaviors.”
President Yoweri Museveni, while addressing mourners at one of the deceased’s home in Kulambiro, issued a directive to install CCTV cameras in Kampala. In actuality, this is a good idea in curbing down the ill conducts of criminality, terrorism, theft and reckless driving among others.
Installation of CCTV cameras has been found to lower most of the above in studies carried out by International Security Industry Organization but only to some extent. However, this effort needs to be supplemented with other notable efforts and the process of installation has got to be streamlined right away.
On receiving threats from the US Ambassador, Virginia Palmer of freezing supply to Malawai with medical drugs and related materials, unless the theft of drugs is not stopped, the government of Malawai has started installing CCTV cameras on war footing with a view to monitoring drug stores in the country
Even though the introduction of electronic surveillance technologies is rapid and widespread in Japan, there is scant public opposition to governmental policies attempting to enhance the policing of everyday life through social monitoring techniques. One of the reasons as to why public opinion shows a ‘reluctant acceptance’ of these policies revolves round the fact that the relationship between the journalistic media and the public is pretty tense. On account of the public’s inherent distrust of the media in most cases, any journalistic criticism of surveillance practices seldom gains adequate support from the public. Consequently, the issue relating to public surveillance poses a serious social turmoil in the minds of Japanese people.
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