Wednesday, May 20, 2009 at 2:55PM
Report: CCTV Schemes in City and Town Centers Have Little Effect on Crime
California Science & Technology News
- The use of closed-circuit television in cities, town centers and public housing estates does not have a significant effect on crime, according to Home Office-funded research to be distributed to all police forces in England and Wales this summer.
- The review of 44 research studies on CCTV schemes by the Campbell Collaboration found that they do have a modest impact on crime overall, but are at their most effective in cutting vehicle crime in car parks, especially when used alongside improved lighting and the introduction of security guards.
- The Campbell Collaboration report says that CCTV is now the single most heavily-funded crime prevention measure operating outside the criminal justice system and its rapid growth has come with a huge price tag. It adds that £170m was spent on CCTV schemes in town and city centerse, car parks and residential areas between 1999 and 2001 alone. "Over the last decade, CCTV accounted for more than three-quarters of total spending on crime prevention by the British Home Office," the report says.
- Am going to look into this one a bit further. Definitely some additional factors involved in the effectiveness of CCTV grids, including camera placement and image quality. Interested to dig a bit deeper and read the actual report. I'll report back.
- By a narrow margin, Swiss voters accepted an overhaul of the country's passport system to include travel documents equipped with biometric data -- a change needed for Switzerland to stay on the United States' visa waiver program.
- The biometric passport was approved by 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent margin, reflecting widespread concern over government intrusion into people's privacy in a country that does not belong to the European Union and has long valued its independence.
- Switzerland joined Europe's control-free travel zone last year, which requires countries to register citizens' facial and fingerprint images on an electronic chip in the passport.
- Most of the 27 European Union members have issued biometric passports since 2006. But Switzerland has until March 2010 to put in place the new travel document, according to European law.
- Great to see this widespread deployment continue. DHS recently announced initiatives to improve current passport technology -- it looks like it's taking off worldwide.
California Science & Technology News
- A new study suggests that skill in facial recognition might vary widely among humans. Previous research has identified as much as 2 percent of the population as having "face-blindness," or prosopagnosia, a condition characterized by great difficulty in recognizing faces. For the first time, this new research shows that others excel in face recognition, indicating that the trait could be on a spectrum, with prosopagnosics on the low end and super-recognizers at the high end.
- The research involved administering standardized facial recognition tests. The super-recognizers scored far above average on these tests—higher than any of the normal control subjects.
- One woman in the study said she had identified another woman on the street who served as her as a waitress five years earlier in a different city. Critically, she was able to confirm that the other woman had in fact been a waitress in the different city. Often, super-recognizers are able to recognize another person despite significant changes in appearance, such as aging or a different hair color.
- The human mind never fails to amaze me -- and disappoint at the same time.