Glasgow has become the UK city with the highest density of CCTV cameras, and this article will examine why and its effect on crime in Glasgow.

Research for this scheme was limited to 12 months of follow up, so future schemes must use high quality evaluation designs with long follow up periods, including randomized controlled experiments with long follow up periods.

1. Detection of Crime

One of the primary drivers behind installing CCTV in Glasgow is to detect crimes and offenses. Multiple evaluations of cameras in city and town centers have reported positive outcomes with respect to crime (i.e. fewer incidents requiring police action).

However, these systems have also demonstrated their limitations; not every crime and offense can always be prevented by CCTV surveillance systems. Certain crimes and offenses committed near railway and subway stations, pubs/nightclubs/phone boxes/bus stops/cash points in certain streets tend to escape detection by these CCTVs.

CCTV can have a positive effect on public perceptions of their risks of becoming victims of crime. Interviewees in two evaluations of CCTV in city centre areas indicated that, after cameras were installed, their fears about becoming victims decreased slightly; this likely stems from more incidents being identified than would otherwise occur due to having cameras present – making officers more effective on the ground and saving lives as a result.

2. Prevention of Crime

Studies have confirmed that CCTV helps reduce crime by deterring individuals from engaging in unlawful acts. There is also evidence suggesting that CCTV has its greatest effect when actively monitored by staff – this process is known as active monitoring.

This approach is key for many reasons. First, it allows the police to respond more rapidly when an incident is reported; secondly, it helps build public trust in the system; and finally it can dispel perceptions that Glasgow is an unsafe and violent area.

Walter Kean, general manager of Glasgow Community and Safety Services – an arms-length joint council/police body which oversees its CCTV network – is convinced of their utility. He points out how cameras have assisted in finding missing children as well as helping council workers identify local problems like burst water mains or abandoned cars. Furthermore, “redeployable” cameras that can be moved quickly to problem areas will prove invaluable in combating antisocial behavior such as graffiti, vandalism or street drinking.

3. Identification of Offenders

CCTV surveillance provides more than just identification; it also gives insight into the characteristics of crimes. For instance, CCTV can help establish details such as who participated in a particular offence, the type of vehicle used and whether or not weapons were present at its time of commission.

CCTV images can be compared with a database of prior crimes to identify repeat offenders and aid investigations of other offenses. In order to be of use, however, the system must be regularly maintained by staff who understand its necessity in protecting data security.

The research also examined the cost effectiveness of various intervention strategies for both CCTV and lighting schemes, with CCTV being most cost effective when targeted towards known crime hotspots; random distribution is less likely to be feasible in practice. Monte Carlo modelling techniques were used to simulate how different CCTV and lighting interventions affected street crime rates.

4. Gathering of Evidence

CCTV surveillance systems can serve as an excellent deterrent against criminals, helping investigators gather evidence for criminal prosecution. But they can also be used to monitor antisocial behaviour; using cameras outside your business could reveal whether someone has entered without authorization and committed an offense.

Glasgow City Centre CCTV camera scheme was implemented as a response to growing concerns over crime and disorder within its borders. These cameras formed part of CityWatch initiative designed to reduce costs for businesses by cutting clean-up costs associated with vandalism or crime as well as increasing employment opportunities while simultaneously creating positive ‘feel good’ factors and strengthening security measures for citizens.

CCTV surveillance systems can be an effective tool in gathering evidence of criminal or antisocial behaviour, but must be used with care so as not to violate people’s privacy. Furthermore, such equipment must only be installed in public spaces with permission from magistrates and must comply with Data Protection Act regulations.