More Surveillance Cameras in New York City

Helen Whalen Cohen
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Posted: May 10, 2010 3:33 PM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is planning to visit London to study their "Ring of Steel" of security cameras. This is bad news for folks in New York City and taxpayers all over the country.

Townhall columnist Steve Chapman looked at whether cameras actually deter crime. Britain claimed "no overall effect", in spite of having 4 million cameras.

But if cameras generally don't do much to prevent crime, surely they help collar the criminals they fail to deter? Not very often. A review by the London police department calculated, "For every 1,000 cameras in London, less than one crime is solved per year." Average cost for cracking a case: $30,000.


This isn't to say that cameras never help to solve crimes. But it isn't clear that having more cameras is an effective strategy, especially when those resources could go towards improving the police force and educating citizens.

Using London as a model for crime deterence means we have an ineffective surveillence system with a $400 million price tag to look forward to.

Maybe Mayor Bloomberg should look somewhere else for inspiration.