Crime Prevention Studies, Volume 10

Surveillance of Public Space: CCTV, Street Lighting and Crime Prevention

Edited by Kate Painter and Nick Tilley

Buy this volume from Lynne Rienner Publishers


Privatopia on Trial? Property Guardianship in the Suburbs
by Tim Hope

This paper explores how distinctions between private and public underpin the concept of guardianship that has been applied to the understanding and control of crime in reidential areas. Specifically, it focuses on the guardianship of private property in (affluent) residential suburbs. First, the paper discusses the concept of "natural surveillance" and identifies its role in the crime prevention theories of Jane Jacobs and Oscar Newman, particularly highlighting the issue of boundary maintenance between private and public space. Second, it presents evidence on property crime victimisation in relation to dwelling type and area socioeconomic status, drawn from a multivariate model of British Crime Survey data. Third, the paper discusses the ways in which suburbs deliver guardianship "goods" to their residents, including that collectively provided by, for example, "Neighbourhood Watch." Its broad conclusion is that property guardianship in suburbs is likely to be a zero-sum game for residents unless borders can be maintained; in turn, this implies an underlying logic of converting public security goods into exclusive "club goods."

A Review of Street Lighting Evaluations: Crime Reduction Effects
by Ken Pease

Consideration of the literature concerning street lighting effects on crime yields the following conclusions: (1) Precisely targeted increases in street lighting generally have crime reduction effects. (2) More general increases in street lighting seem to have crime prevention effects, but this outcome is not universal. Older and U.S. research yield fewer positive results than more recent U.K. research. (3) Even untargeted increases in crime prevention generally make residents less fearful of crime or more confident of their own safety at night. (4) In the most recent and sophisticated studies, street lighting improvements are associated with crime reductions in the daytime as well as during the hours of darkness. (5) The debate about lighting effects has served to preclude a more refined analysis of the means by and circumstances in which lighting might reduce crime. Our aim should now be to use context-appropriate lighting schemes as part off` a full repertoire of crime reduction tactics. Recommendations based upon a strategic view of current crime reduction policy are made about how lighting effects could be clarified and elaborated. The provisions of the British Crime and Disorder Act 1998 constitute a potential vehicle fir lighting programmes operating within crime reduction schemes generally.

Street Lighting and Crime: Diffusion of Benefits in the Stoke-on-Trent Project
by Kate Painter and David P. Farrington

Using a victim survey, the prevalence and incidence of crime were measured 12 months before and 12 months after the installation of improved street lighting in an experimental area of Stoke-on-Trent, U.K.; and at the same times in adjacent and control areas where the street lighting remained unchanged. The prevalence of crime decreased by 26% in the experimental area and by 21 % in the adjacent area, but increased by 12% in the control area. The incidence of crime decreased by 43% in the experimental area and by 45% in the adjacent area, but decreased by only 2% in the control area. Police-recorded crimes in the whole police area also decreased by only 2%. It is concluded that the improved street lighting caused a substantial decrease in crime in the experimental area, and that there was a diffusion of these benefits to the adjacent area (which was not clearly delimited from the experimental area). Furthermore, the benefits of improved street lighting, in terms of the savings to the public from crimes prevented, greatly outweighed its costs.

A Review of CCTV Evaluations: Crime Reduction Effects and Attitudes Towards Its Use
by Coretta Phillips

This paper reviews studies that have evaluated the effectiveness of closed circuit television (CCTV) in reducing crime, disorder and fear of crime in a variety of sites. The guiding framework for the review is Tilley's (1993a) model for realist evaluation, which focuses on the mechanisms and contexts in which CCTV might operate. The paper concludes that CCTV can be effective in deterring property crime, but the findings are more mixed in relation to personal crime, public order offences, and fear of crime. Public attitudes towards the use of CCTV in public spaces are also considered, as is the issue of civil liberties and the targeting of marginalized groups.

CCTV and The Social Structuring of Surveillance
by Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong

The installation of Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) on British streets has been the crime prevention initiative of the century. However, little attention has been paid to who and what the cameras actually watch and how operators select their targets. This paper draws on a two-year study in the operation of CCTV control rooms to examine how target selection is socially differentiated by age, rage and gender and asks whether this leads to discrimination.

Evaluating "Realistic Evaluation": Evidence from a Study of CCTV
by Martin Gill and Vicky Turbin

This paper examines a new evaluation methodology developed by Pawson and Tilley (1997) that they term "realistic evaluation.' A small-scale evaluation of dosed circuit television (C'CTV) in two retail stores is used to illustrate the practical use of the methodology and to demonstrate the strengths and weaknesses of this approach The study offers guidelines to other researchers about potential pitfalls in conducting a realistic evaluation. Some conclusions are presented about the possible impact of CCTV within a retail environment. The paper concludes that the Pawson and Tilley methodology shows great promise for future evaluations. It highlights the point that an apparent failure to affect crime levels (using statistical measures) may still generate other benefits if the research is designed within the realistic evaluation framework.

Yes, It Works, No, It Doesn't: Comparing the Effects of Open-Street CCTV in Two Adjacent Scottish Town Centres
by Jason Ditton and Emma Short

This paper reports the evaluation of two contrasting open-street closed circuit television (CCTV) installations in Scotland. Twelve cameras were installed in a small town called Airdrie in 1992, and 32 cameras were installed in Glasgow, a large city, in 1994. After controlling for extraneous factors, it was discovered that, overall, recorded crime fell (and detection rose) in Airdrie after camera installation, but in Glasgow recorded crime rose (and detection fell). However, in both locations, some more specific types of recorded crimes fell and some others rose. It cannot simply be concluded hat CCTV "works" in small towns, but not in large cities. In part this is because the goals of open-street CCTV installations are usually developed at a somewhat slower pace than are the systems themselves, and are often incompatible. For example, proponents claim that CCTV will both reduce crime (by deterring potential offenders) and increase it (by capturing more illegal acts on camera). Accordingly, in both locations studied, CCTV has been a different sort of success.

Burnley CCTV Evaluation
by Rachel Armitage, Graham Smyth, and Ken Pease

This study examines the effectiveness of a closed circuit television (CCTV) system installed in Burnley, Lancashire in northwest England. It considers both the outcomes and mechanisms through which they were brought about. Three areas are identified: "focal" beats, within which the CCTV cameras were installed; "displacement" beats, which were continuous to the focal beats; and "other" beats, comprising the remainder in the police division. With regard to both overall recorded crime and separate types of offences, the research finds significant decreases in the focal area, no spatial displacement, and some diffusion of benefit to the displacement area. There was some dilution of impact over time. There was no evidence that the proportional effect of CCTV changes by time of day, according to periods when surveillance with cameras would be more or less difficult. Crime fell more steeply as the first cameras were installed, with diminishing increases in effect as more were put in place. These patterns suggest that the impact of cameras is not simply a result of surveillance effects per se. Other preventive mechanisms were also triggered.

Context-Specific Measures of CCTV Effectiveness in the Retail Sector
by Adrian Beck and Andrew Willis

This study reports a research project that explored the effectiveness of closed circuit television (CCTV) as a primary crime prevention measure directed against staff and customer theft in the retail clothing sector. It demonstrates the usefulness of a strong before-and-after research design, as well as the benefits of using different measures for different purposes, including loss measured as a percentage of sales, loss by number of units stolen and loss by value. The study also examines whether the costs of CCTV installations are offset by the benefits of reduced loss. It is concluded that robust measures that are "fit for a purpose" allow informed choices to be made about appropriate investment in crime prevention CCTV technology.