Friday, September 21, 2007

CCTV Sucks... But how to turn Stats into Action?

Shock! Horror! Awe! Etc! Lib Dems reveal some figures which show how ineffective CCTV is at actually clearing up crimes - the average clear-up rate is about 21%, with some highly-infested areas (Hackney: 1,484 cams) just beating that (22.2%), but others falling short, despite having a few less cameras. On the other hand, some areas have less cameras, but a high solve rate (e.g. Brent have the highest: 164 cams, 25.9% clear-up).

The article confuses capture with deterrence once it spits outs its stats (and in any case, stats are worth a closer look in all circumstances). There's a certain (but not necessarily true ;) logic that says if you spend more on street lighting, CCTV camera work will be more effective, I'd think.

But reports are one thing. As with the DNA Database report from Nuffield earlier this week (apologies for not chasing that one up yet...), if things are really going to change, then we have to hammer home the points being made by these reports. We need to turn one press release into serious societal questioning. These are serious issues, and simply going "Yup, told you so" is not enough. We know we don't trust politicians, so why do we let them keep getting their way? Apathetic Acceptance is the hallmark of a successful reign of elitism, and nothing to do with how any democracy runs.

This is the big challenge now then - keeping up the momentum. Not easy in our culture of disposability, daily press releases, and feelgood politics.

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