Expository Essay on CCTV Cameras and Police Patrol

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Sewanee University of the South
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Technology has played a significant role in improving our day to day experiences. It has played an effective role in improving the security systems such that crime rates are slowly declining. A good example is the use of CCTV in monitoring the movement of individuals such that any suspicious activity can easily be detected and prevented from taking place in addition to capturing images of suspects (Cerezo 2013, pp. 222). The Closed Circuit TeleVision or simply the CCTV is a video operation that is visible that is limited to particular viewers. For the CCTV, whatever has been caught on camera is recorded or viewed but not broadcasted. The CCTV was initially expensive and was mostly used in hotels, financial institutions, and other major facilities as part of the security systems. However, these days, they have becomes quite common and inexpensive such that people use them in their homes (Cerezo 2013, pp. 222). The key factor that the analysis focuses on is the application of CCTV cameras in security systems and their impact when compared to a police patrol. The argument is that people feel safer when police are around their environments patrolling instead of having CCTVs cameras that monitor their movements. It is important to note that CCTV cameras come in handy because they are cheap, easy to install and operate (Cerezo 2013, pp. 222). From an analytical perspective, when it comes to safety concerns, the combination of CCTV cameras and police patrol is relevant despite the view that police patrolling is better than having CCTVs in every corner to monitor the movements.

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It is important to note that the human eye is incapable of surveillance of an area within a short time. Frequent movements have to be done when monitoring which amounts to a greater consumption of time. With the view, several streets, roads, and buildings are installed with CCTV cameras for the purpose of monitoring activities and reducing crime rates. However, from a general perspective, the surveillance cameras have their positive and negative effects that have to be taken into consideration when being operated (Severine 2013, pp. 134). Before, analyzing the views from other scholars regarding the significance of the cameras in the security systems and their advantages and limitations, it is important to comprehend how they came to be in the human environment.

The technology employed in the CCTV was discovered in the 60s by which switch boxes were first positioned. The function of the switch box was to enable the operator to make shifts on cameras by which a camera would be viewed after another. VCRS, Multiplexers and the Solid State Cameras were then introduced in the 70s. The VCRs were basically used for recording and distribution of videos while the Multiplexers were used to divide the screen a single monitor into several frames. Also, the Solid State cameras made it possible to integrate VCRs while maintaining reliability (Severine 2013, pp. 134). However, there were several problems in regards to performance in the first CCTVs. Most of the recordings by the VCR were of low quality in addition to the equipment being temperamental. Some images were also blurry in addition to the whole process taking a significant amount of time in addition to motions not being detected. With these disadvantages, more advanced CCTVs were produced in the middle of the 90s (Severine 2013, pp. 134). The new CCTVs used computer controlled systems grounded on Digital Video Recorder (DVR) technology. The advantage of the DVR was that it employed high resolution and hence getting quality images and hence solving most problems present in the previous CCTVs. Good examples of DVR-based cameras include PTZ, Tilt, and Pan that exhibit high resolution when recording. The cameras have the ability to operate in dark environments in addition to having plenty of lenses. One distinctive feature of the DVR is the ability to include audio which lacked in the previous equipment (Severine 2013, pp. 134). In other words, during recording, both audio and visual motion are highlighted and hence getting concrete information on whatever activity is taking place in the background. Furthermore, the operator can be used to guide members of staff in a company in addition to allowing various activities such as searching, recording, and replaying of the video and audio forms of data. It is important to note that CCTV technology is being employed in various sectors with its main function being prevention of crimes. Other places that use CCTVs include monitoring of traffic, analyzing processes in industries, monitoring the movements of children in schools in addition to managing retail (Severine 2013, pp. 134).

Harikrishnan et.al (2014, p. 467) present the view that CCTV cameras are efficient when it comes to improving the effectiveness and attitudes of employees in the business environments in addition to improving the bond between a business and its clients. The scholars present several advantages of using the cameras by businesses. One of the benefits is that the camera can detect various forms of malpractices, theft in addition to misconduct by the workers and hence effective in detecting any criminal activity. The recording of the performance of employees is also another advantage of using CCTV cameras in the business premises. The recording allows the employees to be frequently updated on their performance, and hence the cameras being effective in maintaining quality production from manpower. The other benefit is that the cameras can be used to record work attendance especially since continuous human supervision is not possible. The cameras can also be used to serve as evidence in regards to any dispute in the workplace in addition to being kept as evidence just in case of any legal issue that may arise in future. Last but not least, the cameras may assist a business in identifying its frequent customers such that it looks for ways of serving them efficiently and hence developing the operations of business (Harikrishnan et.al 2014, p. 467). Therefore, in as much as some people perceive that CCTV cameras interfere with their day to day lives, they present various benefits that add value to them. They keep in check criminal activities and serve effective purposes when it comes to providing evidence and maintaining adequate operations of activities.

The scholars highlight the presence of negative attitudes that people have on CCTVs especially when it comes to privacy. They present a good number of suggestions that can be used to counter the negative attitude. They include necessity, proportionality, accountability and responsibility, transparency, in addition to independent oversight. In regards to necessity, the need for surveillance cameras should include an empirical justification by a credible body in addition to the identification of objectives and possible outcomes. Proportionality entails the equipment aligning with the associated issues by which the technology should be used as per the laid out objectives. It also involves protecting data and defining blatantly the duration of time employed in the surveillance. When it comes to transparency, the public should be aware of the goals of the surveillance cameras, the installation process, the costs associated with its operations and the expected outcomes. Also, the citizens should be informed about the outcomes for them to comprehend the significance of the cameras. Responsibility and accountability entail individuals in charge of the systems being accountable and identifying themselves to the public regardless of whether they operate in the public or private sectors. Independent oversight includes having an external operation that ensures that the rights of the public are respected in addition to the systems operating as per their objectives. The public is given the right to have to say in the oversight (Harikrishnan et.al 2014, p. 469).

Studies by Piza et.al (2015, p. 43-69) indicate that a combination of CCTV and police patrol is an effective strategy when it comes to the control of crimes in the public. In their article, The effects of merging proactive CCTV monitoring with directed police patrol: a randomized controlled trial, the scholars present a study analyzing the impact of increased certainty of punishment on reported crime levels in CCTV target areas of Newark, NJ (Piza et.al 2015,p. 43). The scholars assert that the study was structured with the aim of disabling particular barriers that limit the efficiency of the cameras (Piza et.al 2015, p. 43). They mention the high ratios regarding camera-to-operator in addition to the differential response rule regarding the dispatch of police as among the limitations. Their study also entailed setting up an extra camera for the purpose of monitoring particular CCTVs by which two patrol cars were positioned to respond to incidents reported by the cameras involved in the study (Piza et.al 2015, p. 43).

The results of the study indicated a decrease in the rate of violent crimes and unacceptable social conduct in the areas under surveillance. They state: Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) and Total Net Effect (TNE) values suggest that the number of crime incidents prevented was sizable in numerous instances (Piza et.al 2015, p. 68). However, activities regarding narcotics were not affected extensively by the experiment. From the scholars perspective, the combination of CCTV surveillance and police patrol is an effective measure when it comes to the control of crimes when compared to having only CCTV cameras in place without the presence of police (Piza et.al 2015, p. 68). In other words, the combination of CCTV cameras and police patrol is efficient when it comes to reducing crime.

Adrienne Isnard in the article, Can Surveillance Cameras Be Successful In Preventing Crime And Controlling Anti-Social Behaviours?, asserts that there is need to use CCTV cameras as an overall strategy when it comes to preventing crimes in the society (Isnard 2001, p. 4). It is important to have several preventive measures regarding crime such that the public is served effectively. Isnard states: Even with CCTV, the public generally feel happier and safer if they have an authority figure, such as the police they can actually see on the beat and to whom they can talk with face to face when they need to (Isnard 2001, p. 8). The view is that for effective outcomes to be achieved, police patrol and CCTV cameras have to be employed. The public tends to make calls to the police departments or the security guards when they observe any misconduct or anti-social behavior. The combination makes it possible to promote respect, tolerance, and inclusion for every person. The CCTV cameras have been used and are still being used to give support to the police when going to a situation by which they ask the operator to give directions on the area of focus while recording the movements. The combination has been effective when dealing with terrorists whereby the cameras have been used to identify their location and movement such that the police are aware of the directions to use when approaching them. However, emergency phone calls may prove to be effective that the CCTV cameras are situations that people need immediate assistance by which the police is quickly notified of the location of emergency when compared to a recorded surveillance where a lot of time might be spent in identifying the location. Furthermore, the person in need of help is not assured that help is on his or her way with the view that the camera has captured the threat (Isnard 2001, p.8). In other words, the CCTV cameras have their disadvantages when used in security systems and hence require support from other factors.

As stated earlier, from an analytical perspective, when it comes to safet...

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