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The effect of public surveillance cameras on crime clearance rates


  • Jung, Yeondae
  • Wheeler, Andrew Palmer

    (University of Texas at Dallas)


Much research has examined the crime reduction benefits of public close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras, suggesting that cameras may not deter enough crime to justify their cost. Another benefit of CCTV though is its utility in investigations and in clearing cases, which has been much less studied. Using a sample of public crimes and case clearances in Dallas, Texas, we examine the efficacy that public CCTV cameras increase case clearance rates using a pre-post research design. We find that cases closer to cameras did have an increased clearance rate after the cameras were installed in Dallas. But the effects faded quite quickly in space, and were mostly limited to thefts. While our estimates here suggest the cameras are likely not cost-effective in this sample in terms of increasing clearances, it suggests there is potential to be more targeted in camera placement that might provide better justification for their (limited) use.

Suggested Citation

  • Jung, Yeondae & Wheeler, Andrew Palmer, 2019. "The effect of public surveillance cameras on crime clearance rates," SocArXiv eh5bg, Center for Open Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:osf:socarx:eh5bg
    DOI: 10.31219/

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Brandon C. Welsh & David P. Farrington, 2008. "Effects of Closed Circuit Television Surveillance on Crime," Campbell Systematic Reviews, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 4(1), pages 1-73.
    2. Roberts, Aki, 2008. "The influences of incident and contextual characteristics on crime clearance of nonlethal violence: A multilevel event history analysis," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 61-71, March.
    3. Baskin, Deborah & Sommers, Ira, 2010. "The influence of forensic evidence on the case outcomes of homicide incidents," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1141-1149, November.
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