Date of Degree
Kevin T. Wolff
Gohar A. Petrossian
Jon M. Shane
Eric L. Piza
CCTV, Crime Occurrence, Case Clearance, Microsynthetic Control Approach, Entropy Balancing, Quasi-Experiment
Closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance cameras have become widely accepted as a traditional crime prevention measure used by law enforcement agencies across the globe. The proliferation of CCTV technology as a crime reduction mechanism has led to a corresponding growth in the evidence base of its effect on crime. While CCTV is generally associated with a moderate reduction in crime, these evaluations have suffered from certain limitations. First, rigorous quasi-experimental designs using advanced matching techniques have not been used enough in CCTV research and second, these evaluations remain largely one-dimensional, as additional outcome measures and other camera-specific features have gone largely underexplored. In light of these limitations, this dissertation sought to address these gaps by conducting a highly sophisticated assessment of the CCTV scheme in Fayetteville, North Carolina. To accomplish this, this dissertation applied the newly developed microsynthetic control (MSC) approach to conduct a longitudinal, matched quasi-experiment.
The main research questions examined were: (1) how does CCTV effect crime occurrence, (2) are some CCTV cameras more effective at deterring crime than others, (3) to what degree does CCTV effect case clearances/closures, and (4) are some CCTV cameras more effective in closing cases than others? To examine both outcome measures, this dissertation utilized two separate units of analysis. Thus, the crime prevention effects were explored by using individual camera viewsheds as the unit of analysis (see Caplan, Kennedy, & Petrossian, 2011), whereas the investigative function was examined by using individual criminal incidents as the unit of analysis (see Jung & Wheeler, 2021).
In the end, this dissertation generated several notable findings. First, this research found that CCTV in Fayetteville was associated with a significant decrease in felony crimes, which varied by phase of camera deployment. Importantly, these effects faded in both strength and significance over time, with the most robust effects observed a year after installation. Additionally, this CCTV scheme was associated with a diffusion of benefits, which varied in magnitude by phase. Secondly, this system not only consisted of both highly effective and less successful cameras, but it also revealed that several variables were related to the changes in crime experienced in the camera viewsheds. For example, areas experiencing more police activity also encountered smaller decreases in crime. Third, case closures increased after CCTV was installed, but these results were largely influenced by disorder crimes. Fourth, like the earlier crime prevention question, several cameras were associated with more case clearances than others. Moreover, for the case clearance analyses, the longer the camera was in place, the more likely it was to be classified as an effective camera. Finally, this dissertation discussed several strategic aspects of camera deployment that may increase the operational capabilities of the Fayetteville system and highlighted a handful of findings that the FPD may want to further explore to increase the effectiveness of this initiative.
Thomas, Amanda L., "Evaluating the Effect of CCTV on Crime Occurrence and Case Clearances in Fayetteville, North Carolina: A Microsynthetic Control Quasi-Experiment" (2023). CUNY Academic Works.
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