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"Not the Usual Suspects": A Study of Factors Reducing the Effectiveness of CCTV

NCJ Number
Security Journal Volume: 23 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2010 Pages: 134-154
Date Published
April 2010
21 pages

This study explored the relationship between the design of a closed circuit television (CCTV) system and the performance of operator tasks.


Previous research on the effectiveness of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) has focused on critically assessing police and government claims that CCTV is effective in reducing crime. This paper presents a field study that investigates the relationship between CCTV system design and the performance of operator tasks. We carried out structured observations and interviews with 13 managers and 38 operators at 13 CCTV control rooms. A number of failures were identified, including the poor configuration of technology, poor quality video recordings, and a lack of system integration. Stakeholder communication was poor, and there were too many cameras and too few operators. These failures have been previously identified by researchers; however, no design improvements have been made to control rooms in the last decade. The authors identify a number of measures to improve operator performance, and contribute a set of recommendations for security managers and practitioners. Tables, figures, references, and appendix (Published Abstract)

Date Published: April 1, 2010