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Surveillance cameras ‘do not reduce street crime’
The presence of surveillance cameras in the streets does not help reduce the risk of physical violence and has little influence on other forms of crime, according to a study by the Flemish centre of expertise on safety, the findings of which are published today in Het Nieuwsblad, De Standaard and the Sudpresse newspapers. The centre studied the effects of cameras installed in seven cities and towns in Belgium. The researchers compared the number of offences committed before and after the installation of the cameras. "In the immediate vicinity of the cameras, the number of criminal acts decreased by 2%," said Evelien De Pauw, coordinator at the centre of expertise. "A very limited effect, then. But then we found that in nearby streets, where there is no monitoring, the number violent acts increased by almost 9%. So crime is not tackled, but merely displaced. " Cameras do prove useful, however, in identifying people involved in fights. This is logical for researchers because most people start fighting as a result of anger or alcohol, and therefore do not care at that time about the presence of camera.