I read an interesting post on Bruce Scheiner’s blog this morning about his thoughts on how public perception gets moved regarding issues such as CCTV in public spaces. He references a story about how a murderer in Philadelphia was apprehended after Police reviewed video footage showing him get off a bus, follow a woman on the street and then shoot her from behind for no apparent reason.
Bruce is a very well regarded security expert who has written a few posts that echo my own cautions to clients regarding the value that a CCTV system can offer… namely that a well designed system can be a great security tool, but it is rarely a deterrent. The point in his post today was simply that despite all of the very good reasons that explain how and why a public CCTV system might be ineffective (at least for the reason that most people think that a system should be installed in the first place), it is highly publicized incidents like this that are far more powerful in shaping public opinion, and therefore government spending.
This is still a big issue in Vancouver as the Police are pushing to install a public CCTV system on Granville Mall.