Cameras Now Used For Crime Prevention & Surveillance

traffic control room

It was recently announced that Washington DC trumped Chicago in the sheer volume of photo enforcement. As reported by "They now have by far the most speed cameras, stop sign cameras and red light cameras per capital." While this is certainly good news when it comes to keeping the roads and motorists of the city safer, there are also much wider implications. Currently, Washington along with some other major US cities, are beginning to shift focus on their approaches to crime where cameras are concerned - real-time monitoring in particular becoming a goal of Washington law enforcement. As a result, it’s likely that we’ll begin to see cameras used in a far more broader role when it comes to crime prevention and criminal enforcement, but there could be other implications.

Cameras and Crime

While we may often assume that road and traffic cameras are essentially in place to capture and deter traffic-related crimes, modern police are becoming much more reliant on cameras as a general tool for combating crime. Washington police, in particular, are increasingly focusing their efforts around captured surveillance footage. In fact, according to "Law enforcement is looking to get real-time access in order to put the entire city on constant watch." This is of course, a divisive issue. The police department is aware of how valuable resource cameras are, and this is perhaps even more relevant in Washington given the huge amount of cameras that are in place in the city. Having greater access, especially real-time monitoring, could see a huge increase in crime prevention. As stated in the Washington Post, cameras are already a fundamental tool in combating crime for local police forces: "Investigators retrieved video from the Metropolitan Police Department’s 123 closed-circuit television cameras and the District’s network of red light and Department of Transportation cameras 931 times in fiscal 2012 - an increase of 15 percent over the previous year, according to police department data.". While some opponents to an increased level of surveillance argue that real-time monitoring and additional use of cameras is a breach of civil rights, the numbers do clearly show that police are finding cameras increasingly crucial in investigations.

Prevention and Statistics

One of the problems facing both sides of this debate, however, is the actual data on camera effectiveness. While Washington Police, for example, may have increased their use of cameras, what evidence is there that they are an effective tool? As explained by "The biggest problem may be the systems are too new: experts say the lasting impact of cameras may not be known until several years worth of data can be analyzed. Generally, the studies that have been conducted have found that premeditated crimes do tend to decline, but crimes of passion are not affected as much."  Cameras may certainly help police after the event but are unlikely to be an effective deterrent for a desperate addict. This is one potential problem, but on the other hand, being able to monitor in real-time could allow police to take the action they need. That said, drug enforcement, in particular, is itself seeing a shift in focus, as stated by the Washington Post: "Four decades after the federal government declared war on narcotics, the prevailing tough-on-drugs mentality is giving way to a more nuanced view, one that empathizes treatment and health nearly as much as courtrooms and law enforcement, according to addiction specialists and other experts."


One of the major questions that remain is just how effective will the increased use of cameras be? While in Washington there has been a huge surge in the number of cameras, there are certainly ways for motorists to be aware of where cameras are and whether they are working already. Conversely, there are also devices that streamline the camera and toll process available at many retailers. Ultimately, the evidence does suggest that cameras, whether traffic-related or otherwise, are having a profound effect on crime and criminal enforcement. How Washington proceeds could be an indicator of things to come for the rest of the US.


A93820014BS Abu Dhabi accidents ACLU ACS Advertising Aha Mobile AI Airsage ALPR ALPR Cameras Android Apple Arizona Atlanta ATS Attorney Australia Auto Insurance average speed cameras Baltimore Belgium Beltronics Bikes Bribe Brooklyn Buy Buying California Camera Vans Canada carplay Carpool Cars CDOT cell phone Chicago City Council Class Action Cobra Colorado Connected Signals Connecticut construction contracts Corruption courtesty notice courtesy notice Crashes crime Crosswalk crowdsourcing Culver City Dangerous Intersections Dash Cam Data Database Des Moines Distracted Drivers DIY DOT download Drivers License Driving Instructor Drowsy Drunk Drivers Dubai DUI E-ZPass England Escort Europe Facial Recognition failure to stop Fake Cameras FasTrak Fighting Tickets Finance Fines Fleets Florida FOIA Ford France freedom of information act request Garmin Gatso Georgia Germany Ghost Glendale Google Google Maps Government GPS Angel GPS Navigation Guest Writer Hawaii Here Highway Robbery Highways HOV Cameras How To humor Illinois Injury Inrix Insignia Instagram Insurance Insurenet iOS IOT Iowa iphone iRadar Ireland Italy Iteris Joe Biden Laser Craft Law Suit Laws lawyer Left Turns legal Legislation License Plate Local London Long Beach Los Angeles Loud Exhaust Louisiana LPR Cameras Lyft Machine Learning Magellan Maine Maintenance Manhattan maps Marketing Maryland Massachusetts Microsoft Minnesota Missouri Mitac Mobile Ads Mobile Apps mobile speed zone Motorcycle MTA Navigation Navigon Navteq Nestor Netherlands New Jersey New Mexico New Orleans New York New Zealand News NHTSA Nokia NTSB Oahu Oakland Ohio Oregon Parking Parking Tickets Parks Peasy Pennsylvania Phantom Alert Philadelphia Phoenix Photo Notice photographs POI Points Poland police Politics Poll Portugal Privacy Progressive Web App Protest Radar Railroad Reckless Driving red light cameras RedFlex RedSpeed redzone refunds Removing rental car tickets Repairs research revenue Rhode Island Ridesharing Right Turns rolling right turns Russia Sacramento Safe Speed Safety Safety Cameras San Diego San Francisco San Jose Scam Schools Seat Belt Seattle secutity settlement Shutting Down signs Singapore Snitch Tickets solar Sound Cameras Spain speed cameras Speed Vans State Ban stop sign cameras Street View Students subpoena Subscription Supreme Court Surveillance Switzerland Taxi Technology TeleAtlas Telematics Tennessee Tesla Texas Texting Tickets Tips Toll Road TomTom Tracking Traffic traffic attorney Traffic Camera Traffic Lights Traffic Safety Traffic School traffic tickets Trapster Trial by Written Declaration Trinity Trucking trucks UAE Uber UK Unpaid Ticket Vehicle Occupancy Verra Mobility video Vigilant Violation Fines Violation Info Violation Speed Virginia Vision Zero Voters warning devices warning notice Washington Washington DC Waze Wikango Xerox Yellow Lights YouTube