Cameras Gather Evidence, Help Catch Criminals
The use of video surveillance footage is growing increasingly important in solving crimes and convicting criminals. Surveillance video business doubled over the last five years, and is expected to increase from $9.2 billion in 2005 to $21 billion by the end of the decade.
Kansas City homicide Detective Steve Morgan says the first thing the police do at a crime scene is look for video cameras, even as far as a couple of blocks away, in case a camera caught someone going to or leaving the crime scene. Kansas City police want $4 million to upgrade patrol car cameras to higher-quality digital equipment and to install cameras in high-crime neighborhoods.
Chicago already has hundreds of cameras in high-crime areas and is in the process of installing about 2,000 more, and Cincinnati officials plan to spend $6 million for “smart” cameras that can zoom in on people when gunshots are detected. A pilot study of the technology in Orange, NJ, reported an 85 percent drop in gun-related crimes.
The ACLU says the use of new video technology has outrun concerns of privacy and policy, and the extreme use of cameras in public places makes no sense, according to Brett Shirk, director of the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri, citing a study in the United Kingdom that said public cameras did not reduce crime or make people feel safer.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Kansas City Star (01/28/07); Lambe, Joe.