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Camera Surveillance as a Measure of Counterterrorism?


  • Alois Stutzer
  • Michael Zehnder


Camera surveillance has recently gained prominence in policy proposals on combating terrorism. We evaluate this instrument of counterterrorism as resting on the premise of a deterrence effect. Based on comparative arguments and previous evidence on crime, we expect camera surveillance to have a relatively smaller deterrent effect on terrorism than on other forms of crime. In particular, we emphasize opportunities for substitution (i.e., displacement effects), the interaction with media attention aspired to by terrorists, the limits of real-time interventions, the crowding-out of social surveillance, the risk of misguided profiling, and politico-economic concerns regarding the misuse of the technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Alois Stutzer & Michael Zehnder, 2010. "Camera Surveillance as a Measure of Counterterrorism?," Economics of Security Working Paper Series 34, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diweos:diweos34

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bruno S. Frey, 2004. "Dealing with Terrorism – Stick or Carrot?," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 3435.
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    Camera surveillance; closed-circuit television (CCTV); public security; deterrence; terrorism;

    JEL classification:

    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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