London Cameras a Bust: 1 Crime Solved Per 1K

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2009 8:19 AM CDT
Gordon Brown talks with an officer during a visit to the London police department's Specialist Operations Room, where CCTV cameras are monitored, Tuesday, March 18, 2008.    (AP Photo/Akira Suemori, Pool)
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(Newser) – Surveillance cameras are nearly worthless in the fight against crime, a London police report concluded, with fewer than one crime solved annually for every 1,000 cameras.The UK is one of the world's most monitored countries, with one camera for every 14 people and 1 million cameras in London alone. Yet the internal report, obtained by the Telegraph, says that untrained officers used images ineffectively when they bothered to look at all.

Reliance on closed-circuit television has provoked anger on both sides of the political spectrum, and critics decry the cameras as both ineffective and far too expensive. In London, it's estimated that $327 million has been spent on CCTV, implying a cost of $32,700 to detect each crime. The police insist that the report's figures are "an estimate only," but one campaigner said, "Being the world’s camera hub comes at a price, not just to our privacy but also to our pockets."