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Police Security Cameras More Efficient When Grouped Together in High-Crime Neighborhoods

Published by Ellen on May 16, 2012 8:59 AM

A new study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago suggested that Chicago law enforcement surveillance cameras work better at reducing crime when clustered in high-crime areas versus spread across an entire city.

Co-author Rajiv Shah, an adjunct assistant professor of communications, claims that former Chicago mayor Richard Daley's strategy of placing cameras in every corner of the city may not be as effective, based on his study's findings. "The idea championed by former mayor Richard Daley of placing a camera on every corner results in the vast majority of those cameras having little or no impact on reducing crime," Shah remarked.


When lumped together in high-crime areas, police security cameras are associated with a reduction in crime whereas cameras placed in low-crime neighborhoods may have little to no effect at all. "Diffusing a large number of cameras throughout a city does not appear to be effective in reducing crime. Instead the targeted use of a smaller number of cameras in high-crime areas is much more effective," said Shah. A possible explanation may be that police officers are more likely to monitor cameras in high-crime areas on a frequent basis, thus bolstering their efforts to combat crime.

The study titled "Spread Too Thin: Analyzing the Effectiveness of the Chicago Camera Network on Crime," will be published in Police Practice and Research: An International Journal. 