Urban Wire Camera Ready? A Checklist For Cities Considering Public Surveillance Tech to Cut Crime
Zachary J. McDade
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More and more cities are turning to public surveillance cameras to curb crime. This short list, excerpted from a forthcoming Urban Institute guidebook, should help municipal decision-makers get their bearings.  (Check www.urban.org for  the full story later this month.)


  1. Assess your needs and budget before investing.
  2. Plan ahead for maintenance, infrastructure, and other ongoing costs.
  3. Plan camera locations to maximize the view-shed.
  4. Consider integration with other technology.
  5. Balance privacy protection with system utility.
  6. Weigh the costs and benefits to using active monitoring.
  7. Integrate camera systems with existing practices and procedures.
  8. Set and manage realistic expectations for video footage quality.
  9. Incorporate video evidence with witness testimony in court.
  10. Use surveillance systems to complement, not replace, routine policing, investigations, and legal proceedings.

(From “Using Public Surveillance Systems for Crime Control and Prevention:  A Practical Guide for Law Enforcement Officers and Their Municipal Partners”)  

Research Areas Crime, justice, and safety
Tags Courts and sentencing Forensic science Policing and community safety
Policy Centers Justice Policy Center