Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 30, Issue 2, pp 237–264 | Cite as

Analyzing the Influence of Micro-Level Factors on CCTV Camera Effect

  • Eric L. PizaEmail author
  • Joel M. Caplan
  • Leslie W. Kennedy
Original Paper



Despite the popularity of closed circuit television (CCTV), evidence of its crime prevention capabilities is inconclusive. Research has largely reported CCTV effect as “mixed” without explaining this variance. The current study contributes to the literature by testing the influence of several micro-level factors on changes in crime levels within CCTV areas of Newark, NJ.


Viewsheds, denoting the line-of-sight of CCTV cameras, were units of analysis (N = 117). Location quotients, controlling for viewshed size and control-area crime incidence, measured changes in the levels of six crime categories, from the pre-installation period to the post-installation period. Ordinary least squares regression models tested the influence of specific micro-level factors—environmental features, camera line-of-sight, enforcement activity, and camera design—on each crime category.


First, the influence of environmental features differed across crime categories, with specific environs being related to the reduction of certain crimes and the increase of others. Second, CCTV-generated enforcement was related to the reduction of overall crime, violent crime and theft-from-auto. Third, obstructions to CCTV line-of-sight caused by immovable objects were related to increased levels of auto theft and decreased levels of violent crime, theft from auto and robbery.


The findings suggest that CCTV operations should be designed in a manner that heightens their deterrent effect. Specifically, police should account for the presence of crime generators/attractors and ground-level obstructions when selecting camera sites, and design the operational strategy in a manner that generates maximum levels of enforcement.


CCTV Viewsheds Crime-and-place GIS OLS regression Newark, NJ 



This research was supported by the National Institute of Justice, Grant No. 2010-IJ-CX-0026. We express our gratitude to Sergeant Marvin Carpenter and the surveillance operators of the Newark Police Department for their generous support. We also wish to acknowledge the research assistants that worked on this project for their diligence and dedication: Kayla Crager, Andrew Gilchrist, and Christopher Perez. Finally, we thank a number of our colleagues who gave us valuable advice regarding the research methodology and statistical analysis of this project: Robert Apel, Anthony Braga, Elizabeth Griffiths, and Joel Miller.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric L. Piza
    • 2
    Email author
  • Joel M. Caplan
    • 1
  • Leslie W. Kennedy
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Criminal JusticeRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Law and Police ScienceJohn Jay College of Criminal JusticeNew YorkUSA

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