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Estimating the Impact of an Integrated CCTV Program on Crime

NCJ Number
Journal of Experimental Criminology Volume: 17 Dated: 2021 Pages: 129-150
Date Published
22 pages

This article presents research aimed at determining the impacts of an integrated closed circuit television program on crime in Detroit, Michigan; it lays out the research methodology and results, and discusses implications for CCTV impacts on violent crimes as well as potential for other cities to implement a similar program.


Prior research has identified that closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras play some role in deterring crime in public places. However, increasingly, CCTV surveillance is being integrated with proactive monitoring and police response. This study uses a quasi-experimental design to determine the impact of an integrated CCTV program on crime in Detroit. The authors collected data on the first 87 businesses in Project Green Light Detroit, along with a matched comparison group of 201 other businesses. They employed a Bayesian hierarchical linear growth curve model to determine the effect of CCTV camera surveillance at Green Light businesses over the course of 2 years. Findings indicated that Green Light businesses experienced an immediate, but transient increase in property crime reports, as well as more consistent proactive police activity post-intervention. Over time, property crimes and disorder crimes decreased faster relative to the matched controls. There was little evidence of any impact on violent crimes. Integrated CCTV programs may increase the reporting of minor crimes which may have not been reported before. However, these programs may not likely impact violent crimes. In addition, tying proactive response and patrol to participating businesses places higher manpower costs on departments. This has implications for other cities considering implementing wide-spread integrated CCTV programs like Project Green Light Detroit. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2021