There's an interesting discussion at slashdot over an article in The Guardian concerning the effectiveness of CCTV cameras. In short, The Guardian cites a police man that only 3% of street robberies were solved using CCTV images.
While this seems to argue against installation of CCTV cameras, there are several interesting points brought up in the discussion on slashdot, though.
Concerning the 3% figure, noa points out that it does not say anything about how much crime the cameras prevented, the reason why they were installed in the first place.
The basis for CCTV cameras is law enforcement, so mi asks whether we want 100% law enforcement to which ShieldW0lf answers yes, but only if 99% of the laws are abolished. mi also points out that cameras can help protect citizens against police violience, as happened in Philadelphia.
On the other hand, Wowsers reports that a camera could not help find a guy assaulting a woman, because the camera was used to catch motorists using the wrong lane, presumably because this gives money to the city.
Even worse, the cameras are sometimes used for spying, as Toreo asesino reports. He was making out with a girl in a park and observed a camera being pointed to him.
Thank you, slashdot, for your great discussion system. On a personal note, I don't think CCTV is a cure for everything. It may help in some cases (say banks), but most often it will only invade people's privacy and satisfy the curiosity of some (unknown) security people while pushing crime to other, non-monitored areas. More intelligent software, as the Guardian article suggests, won't help here.