Discuss the Advantages and Disadvantages of Living in a Highly Surveillanced Society in Relation to Crime and Criminalisation.

2377 Words Dec 24th, 2007 10 Pages
Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of living in a highly surveillanced society in relation to crime and criminalization. By Suzanne Foster.

The use of surveillance has dramatically increased in the United Kingdom since 1994. Since this time surveillance has become an integral part of the government's crime prevention strategy. For example, the U.K uses more CCTV cameras per head of population than anywhere else in the world. It is estimated that five hundred thousand CCTV cameras operate within London; this means there is one camera for every fourteen people (McCahill and Norris, 2006). This paper will mainly focus on surveillance in the form of CCTV
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The main advantage is that a reduction in crime makes society a safer place. The feeling of safety that surveillance can create is liberating, for those who restrict their movements due to a fear of crime (Skinns 1998). However, evidence suggests that surveillance can lead to the displacement of crime to areas which are less protected (e.g. Ditton and Short, 1998a; Graham, 1998; Johnstone and Williams, 2000).

Ditton and Short (1998b) conducted a study based on interviews with offenders. The majority of offenders suggested that the presence of CCTV had displaced crime to areas which were unprotected. One offender stated that,

‘Cameras just don't bother me. What we used tae do doon the street, we just do somewhere else. Simple as that' (Ditton and Short, 1998b: 418).

This study showed that CCTV reduces crime in areas where it is present, but increases crime in areas which are less protected. So it can be argued that CCTV doesn't reduce overall levels of crime it just moves it to other locations.

Crime displacement can have a negative impact on those who live in areas where crime is displaced. The use of surveillance is concentrated in affluent residential and commercial areas; which means that crime is displaced to the poorer areas of a town or city (Graham, 1998).This can result in an increase in social and geographical segregation which many people in these areas may already be experiencing (Graham, 1998). Areas that are not protected

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