This article examines the use of Public Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) for monitoring public space in an effort to reduce crime and increase public safety.
Public Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) initiatives have been utilized as methods of monitoring public space for over two decades. Evaluations of these efforts to reduce crime have been mixed. Furthermore, there has been a paucity of rigorous evaluations of cameras located in the USA. In this analysis, crime in the viewshed of publicly funded CCTV cameras in Philadelphia, PA, is examined using two evaluation techniques: hierarchical linear modeling and weighted displacement quotients. An analysis that incorporates controls for long‐term trends and seasonality finds that the introduction of cameras is associated with a 13% reduction in crime. The evaluation suggests that while there appears to be a general benefit to the cameras, there were as many sites that showed no benefit of camera presence as there were locations with a positive outcome on crime. The policy implications of these findings are discussed. (Published Abstract Provided)