CCTV experts Brandon Welsh and David Farrington (and colleagues) have just released an updated systematic review of the effects of CCTV on crime. They analysed 80 rigorous evaluations of CCTV from across the world. 


CCTV may:

  • reduce crime in car parks
  • reduce crime in residential settings
  • reduce vehicle, property or drug crime in these areas
  • assist in police investigations.

To best achieve these aims, CCTV should:

  • be actively monitored
  • be used alongside multiple crime prevention interventions to enhance its impact.

The authors suggest that CCTV should not be used in city/town centres or other settings unless its installation is part of a range of solutions or there is a significant crime issue, as without these factors, it will not have an impact on crime.

They also report that CCTV should also be used strategically in spaces and less frequently so that cameras can be effectively monitored by staff. There are some emerging technologies that may improve monitoring functions, but the effectiveness of these have not yet been tested.

The study concludes that we still need to learn more about the impact of CCTV in public transport settings to reduce crime.


CCTV continues to be a technology that can, in the right settings, reduce crime. There are a range of many other situational crime prevention settings that can also be used and may be more effective and less expensive for councils. Read more about situational crime prevention techniques on our website.

To read the full article, visit the Criminology and Public Policy journal online (External link)


Piza, E., Welsh, B., Farrington, D. & Thomas, A. 2019, 'CCTV surveillance for crime prevention', Criminology & Public Policy, 18(1), 135-159.