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U.S. Department of Justice

 For Immediate Release
April 7, 2006

CONTACT: Corey Ray
(202) 616-1728


Closed-Circuit Television: Panacea to Crime and Disorder or Invasion Of Privacy?

Washington, DC - The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has released a guide debating the use of video surveillance technologies, such as closed circuit television (CCTV), by law enforcement to address crime problems.

In today's world, the public is used to being watched by surveillance technology in many commercial and semi-public establishments such as banks, casinos, convenience stores, and shopping malls. The benefits of utilizing CCTV may include a reduction in crime, reduced fear of crime, aid to police investigation, place management and information gathering.

On the other side of the debate is the view of the growing use of CCTV as an invasion of personal privacy. Indeed some unintended consequences of CCTV use can include displacement, increased suspicion or fear of crime, and/or increased crime reporting.

This newly released publication by the COPS Office tackles this dispute by examining the research knowledge about video surveillance. The reader will not only be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of CCTV in a public setting, but also be able to answer many of the public's concerns.

"Video surveillance for crime prevention is a tactic increasing in utilization," said Carl Peed, COPS Director. "This resource we've produced is beneficial to both law enforcement and the community in understanding the implementation of video surveillance and potential benefits and concerns of the practice."

Video Surveillance of Public Places, part of the COPS Office Response Guide Series, is available on the COPS website at or by calling 800.421.6770. All publications are available free of charge.



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