London Riots and Video Surveillance, pt.1

 A really interesting map on the website of the US monthly, The Atlantic, illustrating the relationship between density of video surveillance cameras (CCTV) and recent incidence of rioting in London. There are many things one can get even from a simple map like this. It’s worth noting in particular that Wandsworth and Harringey are the residential boroughs with the highest concentration of CCTV, and have been hit by rioting. There are also places with both greater and less than average density of CCTV which have not had rioting.
Whilst you have to be careful not to mistake correlation for causality, and bearing in mind that this is not a statistically tested verdict, the main tentative conclusion one can draw is that there seems to be no relationship between the presence and density of CCTV and the occurence of rioting. This might seem like  a fairly weak statement, but it is yet more evidence that CCTV has little deterrent effect on crime of this sort (and of course, the rioting is not only explicable as ‘crime’ anyway).

Author: David

I'm David Murakami Wood. I live on Wolfe Island, in Ontario, and am Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Surveillance Studies and an Associate Professor at Queen's University, Kingston.

4 thoughts on “London Riots and Video Surveillance, pt.1”

  1. Interesting. I’d be willing to bet there’s also a strong correlation with the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, Dispersal Zones, Designated Public Place Orders, curfews, electronic tagging, mosquito devices and other measures introduced by New Labour to keep certain youth out of certain places. Critics of these powers have long warned that all they’d do was further alienate these kids from their communities but with the new lot desperate to appear tougher than the last we probably ain’t seen nothing yet. -Ben

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised… and it shouldn’t be too difficult to map, once someone’s collected the information. I feel a small project coming on…

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