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18 Criminology & Pub. Pol'y 131 (2019)
Security or Surveillance: Examination of CCTV Camera Usage in the 21st Century

handle is hein.journals/crpp18 and id is 133 raw text is: 

DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12427                                             CRIMINOLOGY

EDITORIAL INTRODUCTION                                                      &Public Policy

Security or surveillance?

Examination of CCTV camera usage in the 21st century

Meghan E. Hollis

Ronin Institute for Independent Scholars

Meghan E. Hollis, Ronin Institute for Independent Scholars, 6705 Covered Bridge Drive, E 13, Austin, TX 78736.
Email: drmehollis@gmail.com

How many times a day do we encounter closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras? Drive down a
street, and you have likely been captured on at least one. They are prevalent on university campuses, in
malls, in convenience stores and at gas stations, at K-12 schools, in sports and concert arenas, and at
so many other venues. Surveillance cameras are also increasingly used in private homes. The increased
ease of use and decreasing cost of nanny cams, home security cameras, and other forms of private
surveillance further expose us to the regular presence of cameras.
  In addition to these stationary cameras, there is increased exposure to portable surveillance mecha-
nisms. Police officers are increasingly likely to wear body cameras and have dashboard cameras. These
record people at their most vulnerable moments and increase surveillance on both the police and the
public. (Imagine being a woman who has called 9-1-1 because you are in labor-the police officer
arrives and must deliver your baby with a body camera activated. Not a pleasant thought.) Many indi-
viduals in society have cell phone cameras on them at all times. These cameras can be activated with
one swipe of the finger and are used to record all kinds of interactions. These devices are no longer
limited to recording perceived inappropriate actions of police officers and often include recordings
of other citizens that they believe are not behaving civilly. All citizens are subject to surveillance-
whether or not they realize it (see, for example, the many instances when people have been videotaped
and that information has been sent out via social media without their knowledge or consent).
  There are two sides to the CCTV story. Supporters of CCTV usage often highlight the crime preven-
tion and deterrence capacities of CCTV cameras, which raises questions about how efficacious CCTV
cameras are in preventing or reducing criminal activity. Eric Piza, Brandon Welsh, David Farrington,
and Amanda Thomas (2019, this issue) explore the utility of CCTV cameras in reducing crime in detail.
They indicate that CCTV cameras have a significant but moderate impact on crime. Additionally, they
find that place matters-a finding that is not uncommon in criminology. The monitoring approach
used is also important. This finding translates well into routine activity theory (Cohen & Felson, 1979)
research raising the question of whether CCTV cameras can be used as a tool to enhance capable
guardianship. The findings from this body of research also highlight the utility of security cameras in
identifying and apprehending criminal offenders.
  In their comprehensive, 40-year systematic review, Piza et al. (2019) provide a much-needed update
to the knowledge base on CCTV camera usage. They expand on previous systematic reviews on the

Criminology & Public Policy. 2019;18:131-134.  wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/capp  © 2019 American Society of Criminology  I  131

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