It’s no secret that Southampton, and the country at large, is under constant surveillance. In fact, we have the most CCTV systems per capita of any country in the world. So, what effect is our heavy surveillance having on crime statistics throughout the UK and specifically Southampton? We’ve taken a look at some statistics to understand better how our surveillance is impacting crime. We’ve also put some thought into how CCTV systems can be used in conjunction with other security systems. Will the use of other security measures help to reduce the amount of crime on Southampton’s streets?
Issues with CCTV systems
Naturally, we’re proud supporters of CCTV systems and are proud of how our systems work to reduce crime, however, there are some limitations. CCTV is impacted by the following:
Primarily, location is the most important aspect of CCTV systems. Placing CCTV in places where there are ‘blind spots’ will allow criminals to take advantage of the fact that they aren’t being watched.
CCTV is more effective in the prevention of some crimes than others. Vehicular crime is often deterred completely by the presence of CCTV. It also has a positive effect on theft. CCTV’s effect on violent crime is more limited due to its often ‘heat of the moment’ nature.
Other Methods in Partnership
Finally, CCTV works best when it’s used in tandem with other crime prevention methods. Whether these are methods implemented by the police in Southampton or a security company, it can’t be argued that increased security methods improve the effectiveness of CCTV. An increase in physical police presence or using a security company for manned guarding or access control will make the use of CCTV as a deterrent more effective.
With these limitations in mind, let’s take a look at the crime statistics for Southampton as a whole.
Southampton: Crime Statistics
According to Police.uk, Southampton has the second highest crime rate of any city in Hampshire other than Portsmouth and is significantly higher than the county average. This makes sense, however, as Southampton is the second most populous city in Hampshire. What’s more alarming is Southampton’s status within the rest of the UK. Southampton rests comfortably above Derby, Reading, Luton, Gloucester, Slough, Hounslow, Cardiff, Eastbourne, Plymouth, Northampton, Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne. The data bounds for these crime statistics list the upper bound at 36.29. Southampton clocks in at 44.18. Clearly, Southampton’s crime statistics are worrying for such a relatively small city. So, how can CCTV be used to drop these damning statistics?
CCTV systems and the effect on crime statistics
According to the College of Policing, a higher level of focus needs to be paid to the location of CCTV. The College of Policing summarises a longer report that yielded the following results.
Six separate UK studies showed a statistically significant decrease in vehicular theft and other vehicle-related crime when CCTV systems were operating in car parks. The number of crimes dropped by an astonishing 51%.
City and Town Centres
The results of the study on city and town centres found a small, not statistically significant reduction in crime. As the reduction was not statistically significant it’s impossible to draw concrete conclusions about its effectiveness. When 15 UK city centres were analysed there was a decrease of 10% in crime.
Public Housing Estates
CCTV in public housing estates yielded a small drop in crime statistics. However, while some estates benefited from the CCTV, the results for other estates stayed the same or yielded ambiguous results.
4 studies on the effectiveness of CCTV on public transport combined showed that on the London underground there was a 23% reduction in crime. However, the CCTV systems were particularly effective in the London boroughs. For the rest of the UK, the findings are more ambiguous.
Recommended Reading: Crime Statistics You Need To Know About
How to make CCTV systems have more of an impact in Southampton?
In order to make CCTV systems have more of an impact on Southampton’s crime statistics, we must take steps to combine the cameras with other security measures. All of the studies looked at by the College of Policing noted that all of the most effective uses of CCTV systems had coupled the cameras with other safety measures. These include better lighting and increased physical presence around the area. CCTV is designed to work as part of a larger strategic approach.
Another thing to consider is that CCTV, while it is a valuable deterrent is not JUST a deterrent. The studies looked at did not consider CCTV’s role in catching and bringing criminals to prosecution. While CCTV may not have prevented the crime from happening, it makes it far more likely that those responsible face justice for their crimes.
Contact us for CCTV systems and other security solutions
If you’re interested in investing in CCTV systems for your place of business, or other security solutions to ensure that you and your staff feel safe at your place of work, get in touch today! We offer a free site survey to ensure that your CCTV is being used to its potential and to let you know of any areas that are in need of extra security measures.