Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted, though it may employ point to point (P2P), point to multipoint, or mesh wireless links. Though almost all video cameras fit this definition, the term is most often applied to those used for surveillance in areas that may need monitoring such as banks, casinos, airports, military installations, and convenience stores.
The growing incidences of terrorist attacks and other criminal activities have significantly changed the perception of the Indian consumers, who now look for better and advanced safety and security solutions. The swelling crime rates and terror attacks have, thus, made surveillance imperative for both government and private bodies. Surveillance of the public using CCTV is particularly common in many areas around the world including the United Kingdom, where there are reportedly more cameras per person than in any other country in the world.
CCTVs World Wide
- An article published in CCTV Image magazine estimates that the number of cameras in the UK is 1.85 million. The number is based on extrapolating from a comprehensive survey of public and private cameras within the Cheshire Constabulary jurisdiction. This works out as an average of one camera for every 32 people in the UK, although the density of cameras varies greatly from place to place. The Cheshire report also claims that the average person on a typical day would be seen by 70 CCTV cameras.
- Research conducted by the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and based on a survey of all Scottish local authorities, identified that there are over 2,200 public space CCTV cameras in Scotland
- Maharashtra government has setup Ram Pradhan Committee, post 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, to suggest measures needed to prevent future attacks. The committee suggested, among many things, CCTVs to be installed at all major locations in Mumbai and other major cities of Maharashtra. Five years after the recommendations, the project has still not taken off. It has been estimated to cost Rs.864 Crores for 6000 cameras but costs are escalating due to delay in finalizing contracts. [Recent news about winner defaulting on bank guarantee]
Today, systems cover most town and city centres, and many stations, car-parks and estates. A more recent analysis by Northeastern University and the University of Cambridge, "Public Area CCTV and Crime Prevention: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," examined 44 different studies that collectively surveyed areas from the United Kingdom to U.S. cities such as Cincinnati and New York. The analysis found that:
- Surveillance systems were most effective in parking lots, where their use resulted in a 51% decrease in crime;
- Public transportation areas saw a 23% decrease in crimes;
- Systems in public settings were the least effective, with just a 7% decrease in crimes overall. When sorted by country, however, systems in the United Kingdom accounted for the majority of the decrease; the drop in other areas was insignificant
There is strong anecdotal evidence that CCTV aids in detection and conviction of offenders; indeed UK police forces routinely seek CCTV recordings after crimes. Moreover CCTV has played a crucial role in tracing the movements of suspects or victims and is widely regarded by antiterrorist officers as a fundamental tool in tracking terrorist suspects. Large-scale CCTV installations have played a key part of the defences against terrorism since the 1970s. Cameras have also been installed on public transport in the hope of deterring crime, and in mobile police surveillance vans, often with automatic number plate recognition, and a network of APNI-linked cameras is used to manage London's congestion charging zone
Many cities and highway networks have extensive traffic-monitoring systems, using closed-circuit television to detect congestion and notice accidents. Here are a few ways CCTVs are used in traffic monitoring:
- Bus lane enforcement
- Red light enforcement
- Speed limit enforcement
- Stop sign enforcement
- Number plate recognition systems
- Congestion Management
- Toll-booth Management
- CCTV Campaign by Lok Satta Party.