Journal of Experimental Criminology

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 403–429 | Cite as

The financial implications of merging proactive CCTV monitoring and directed police patrol: a cost–benefit analysis

  • Eric L. PizaEmail author
  • Andrew M. Gilchrist
  • Joel M. Caplan
  • Leslie W. Kennedy
  • Brian A. O’Hara



This study presents a cost–benefit analysis of an intervention pairing proactive CCTV monitoring with directed police patrol in Newark, NJ. A recent randomized control trial found that the strategy generated significant crime reductions in treatment areas relative to control areas. The current study focuses on the financial implications of the experimental strategy through a cost–benefit analysis.


The study begins by measuring the costs and benefits associated with the experimental strategy, the findings of which can inform agencies with existing CCTV infrastructure. Follow-up analyses measure the costs and benefits of the intervention for agencies absent existing CCTV infrastructure, meaning a CCTV system would have to be funded in addition to the intervention outputs. Alongside overall benefits, this study presents the tangible cost savings afforded to the Criminal Justice system as well as to each of the separate criminal justice (CJ) system components: Policing, Courts, and Corrections.


We found the experimental strategy to be highly cost effective for agencies with existing CCTV infrastructure. However, when the cost of the CCTV system is considered, the strategy is largely cost prohibitive. While the cumulative societal and criminal justice findings suggest some evidence of a modest cost savings, the strategy is highly cost prohibitive for each of the individual CJ system components when CCTV system costs are included.


Results suggest that the experimental strategy is a worthwhile investment for agencies with existing CCTV infrastructure. Agencies absent CCTV may want to consider whether funds would be better allocated towards alternate strategies.


Cost–benefit analysis CCTV Situational crime prevention Directed patrol Policing 



This research was supported by the National Institute of Justice, Grant Number 2010-IJCX-0026.We are truly indebted to a number of individuals at the Newark Police Department whose support made this project possible, including former Director Garry McCarthy, former Director Samuel DeMaio, former Chief-of-Staff Gus Miniotis, Captain (retired) Phil Gonzalez, Lieutenant (retired) Joseph Alferi, Lieutenant Angelo Zamora, Sergeant Marvin Carpenter, and Sergeant Catherine Gasavage. Early versions of this paper were presented at the 2015 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and American Society of Criminology annual meetings. We thank those in attendance for their insightful questions and feedback. We are especially grateful to the CCTV operators, patrol supervisors, and patrol officers who worked on the experiment for diligently carrying out their experimental tasks. We also thank Editor-in-Chief Lorraine Mazerolle, Associate Editor Cynthia Lum, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric L. Piza
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew M. Gilchrist
    • 2
  • Joel M. Caplan
    • 3
  • Leslie W. Kennedy
    • 3
  • Brian A. O’Hara
    • 4
  1. 1.John Jay College of Criminal JusticeCity University of New YorkNew York CityUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  3. 3.School of Criminal JusticeRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA
  4. 4.Newark Police DepartmentNewarkUSA

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