Much research has examined the crime reduction benefits of public closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, suggesting that cameras may not deter enough crime to justify their cost. Another benefit of CCTV though is its utility in investigations and in clearing cases, which has been much less studied. Using the data of public surveillance cameras and case clearances in Dallas, Texas, along with a pre-post-research design, we examine the efficacy that public CCTV cameras increase case clearance rates. We find that cases closer to cameras did have an increased clearance rate after the cameras were installed. But the effects faded quite quickly in space and were mostly limited to thefts. While our estimates here suggest the cameras are likely not cost-effective in terms of increasing clearances, it suggests there is potential to be more targeted in camera placement that might provide better justification for their (limited) use.
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Jung, Y., Wheeler, A.P. The effect of public surveillance cameras on crime clearance rates. J Exp Criminol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-021-09477-8
- Crime clearance
- Police technology