With the increasing criminal activities in today’s world, there has been introduction of new security measures by security systems with a prime aim of containing the rising crimes. Introduction of CCTV cameras in cities, highways, business settings and institutions of learning is just a security measure that has significantly gained ground as one of the most effective security apparatus. As a result, heated debate has ensued trying to water down the activities of police officers terming them as those that are outdated and which should be replaced with CCTV cameras. In particular, those saying that CCTV surveillance should replace policemen consider that those cameras are inexpensive and, therefore, governments are likely to spend a lot in terms of salary that is usually disbursed to police officers. This paper seeks to evaluate the benefits of using cameras in order to monitor criminal activities over the role of police officers who are entitled by the government to ensure safety of citizens. It will be done by weighing the two parties’ uses of cameras and the role of police in order to argue out or to establish the appropriate measures that are effective in curbing crime (Tilley, 2003). Though the main objective of the paper is to generally point out the benefits that overlie application of CCTV, it is also equally important to compare and contrast that application with the role of police in societies in order to alive to the best decision with regard to matters of crime and security.
Fairness in Investigation Process, Practicality and Balancing of Risk
CCTV does not require a lot of time for installation. Therefore, the negativity of it has been highly exaggerated. According to a technician who is practically involved in the installation of CCTVs in a European firm, installation of these cameras requires a short period of time when they are being done by an expert (Baram, 2007). The only major requirement is the presence of electricity that in the absence the event can have some delays. It surpasses the efficiency of a police officer who has trained over a long period of time in order to qualify to become responsible in handling security of a certain region. Though people have exaggerated the point, in order to participate in controlling and monitoring a CCTV camera one should have gone through an employee vetting, it has some weaknesses. One is only required to possess good vision to witness what is going through the eyes of a camera and a slight knowledge of handling computers to switch from one CCTV camera to another. It is also obvious that almost everyone can be in a position to communicate via mobile phone which is greatly required by those monitoring events on a CCTV to alert security personnel of a crime at a certain point. However, with the latest technology, the cameras have been trained to automatically alert security organs about the scene of the crime.
Deterrent of crime surpasses any other valuable material one can think of. Crimes are known to cause massive deaths when burglary is seen to have taken place. People have ended up losing their lives when trying to protect their properties from being illegally taken away by thieves. Past researches and statistics have come out to show that installing CCTVs to monitor crime is generally inexpensive (Verman, 2005). That is when compared to considerable sums of money disbursed to police officers all over the country in terms of salary. For instance, the government is only required to budget for installation of cameras once for a long period of time. That is contrary while police salary is brought in since they are required to be paid a year in year out basis. The point is not that police officers would lead to a sharp rise in a country’s economy, but replacing some of them with CCTV cameras will save a lot of spending. However, as stated earlier, whatever a country saves when trying to curb crime should not be the important agenda, but which side either the role of police officers or application of cameras efficiently protects and upholds the safety of citizens in a bid to deter crime. Therefore, what should be of utmost importance is security measures to be exercised while not comprising the issue of what one is going to gain after the end of the day.
Protection against crime entirely requires a flexible method. It is not known when crime would happen. Therefore, methods used to protect and ensure safety of citizens should accommodate means that change with the circumstance of the crime at hand (Tilley, 2003). Policemen in the past had demonstrated adequate efforts in attempts to contain the crime at hand by enacting measures that were suitable for that particular time. For example, police officers would not approach thugs who have held people hostage by starting a shootout with them. Instead, they would try to be calm in handling the situation in order to ensure that the lives of those who have been held hostage are not endangered. The point here is not to rule out the application of CCTV cameras in a context whilst saying that they are inflexible. Indeed, CCTV cameras might serve the right dose to handle a situation like that. These cameras when applied are known to provide the precise occurrences on what is actually happening in a place where the crime is taking effect. Hence, because of their ability to show what exactly the participants of crime are engaging in, it would assist the police officers or whoever is required to handle that particular situation on the best approach to reach out to those thugs in a cautious manner by establishing their weak points and, thus, taking that direction as a way of approach. In that case, chances of putting life of a police officer in danger are minimized rather than when the attacking police would have approached the situation without any knowledge of whom they are facing.
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National Security Must be Protected Even at the Risk of Loss of Liberty
Ensuring the safety of citizens should be free from bias. There is no doubt that every human is likely to fall in the likelihood to favour of others merely because they are his or her relatives, spouse, close friends or maybe one would be in need of a favour in return. Police officers have been known to be corrupt people in their bid to ensure security and deter crime (Reiss Jr, 1992). Therefore, it is evident that they are not going to give the exact information when required to testify in a court of law if the doer of that crime is associated with a police officer or in any way the police officer was bribed to testify otherwise. The point is not to say that there are no honest police officers who are willing to testify what exactly happened in the scene despite their close ties with the offender, but any human is a potential bias. CCTV cameras, though not particularly perfect as they might be interfered with, stand as one of the best ways of deterring crime without any biasing being involved. They are known to record down each and every action taking place at the scene of crime. That way, those who are involved or rather responsible for the crime would be held accountable at a court of law while fetching evidence from the recorded video. As a result, justice is brought to hand without having doubts that who are being prosecuted might not be guilty.
The safety of citizens is guaranteed when the security apparatus cannot be tampered with (Robb, 2009). While talking of police officer in this regard, in one way or another, they are likely to carry the day. Police officers have been known to be stubborn and sometimes unfriendly when in the pursuit to maintain law and order. People have even disowned them especially when they are beaten roughly by police officers. However, that is all in a bid to ensure their safety by making sure they did not take the law in their hands. In that case, police officers are seen to be the most effective and efficient security apparatus to ensure that there is no spreading of criminal activities since no one at his or her sober mind would risk having the beating by interfering and tampering with their security business. Moreover, thugs in their stealing errands seem not to recognize this but instead meet them face to face even if it will call for shootouts (Verman, 2005). Therefore, the duties of police officers are interfered with and, thus, cannot guarantee the full security of citizens. Though CCTV cameras are susceptible to tampering and vandalism they can be taken care of. The cameras are known to be installed in positions where no one can see them and, therefore, eliminating any chance whatever the case of vandalism. In fact, those who have been caught or witnessed participating in criminal activities are caught with their pant downs while they could not have even the slightest notion that such a security apparatus was in a position.
CCTV Does Not Invade People’s Privacy
Most importantly, the paper is not arguing from the point that police officers are the best in ensuring the privacy of people is maintained but concerned with the important agenda here which is to avert the likelihood of any criminal activity from taking effect while the perceived privacy is being granted by police officers by not attending to specific areas that business must be done privately (Verman, 2005). Cameras are known to record each and every scenario as it happened while being monitored by people from a room, hence, championing publicity and undermining the privacy of those being monitored by the CCTV camera. However, they are primarily aimed at keeping an eye on each and every activity that is taking place, and if at any case there will be a crime the security personnel are alerted in order to handle the situation (Reiss Jr, 1992). In case the freedom of privacy is interfered with and the party involved-monitored snatched off his or her right to handle his or business without involving other parties-monitoring.
Crimes can happen at whatever part of a country and, thus, security should be guaranteed without the limit of time and place. Some areas such as remote places including villages and rural areas have sometimes not received the best in terms of maintaining security. If there are, few police officers have been broadcasted to those places may be with a view that crimes can happen rarely in such places (Baram, 2007). However, that is not as per the expectation of ensuring the security and safety of citizens since crime can happen at whatever place in whatever time of the day or the night. Though it is against the expectation of many that application of CCTV in remote areas can be comfortably applied, arguing that it is an expensive venture that would cost the concerned parties such as the government a lot in terms of infrastructures. It is the role of the government to ensure security of its citizens that is paramount at whatever cost. Just like it was discussed earlier in this chapter, considering what to spend while protecting the lives of many should not outweigh the value of life, and since installation of cameras would only call for one budget for their installation in such places, whether remote or not, they should be given a chance to have the surveillance of CCTV since they are the most appropriate in keeping an eye on people even while they are in long distances (Baram, 2007).
In conclusion, it is in good faith to say that the application of CCTV cameras has done a great job in minimizing crime in our societies. They have not only tried to proof economical, but also to save the governments a lot of spending since they are required to be installed once in a life time then maintained thereafter. It is evident that the application of those cameras does not require highly qualified personnel who would demand great sum of money to control them, but any one with the slightest knowledge on computers and a sober eye vision can qualify for the job. In the event of witnesses they have proved to become one of the best witnesses in a court of law as they give the exact information about the scene without incorporating any biases. Security should be guaranteed even at the risk losses of liberty. That should be done even if certain rights and freedom were undermined. Many might argue that use of CCTV in monitoring activities within a defined sector violates the right to privacy of which to many that is a major concern.