LETTER:Focus on crime

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From Mr Duncan Grant

Sir: Danny Penman ("Cameras 'fail to reduce crime' ", 2 January) writes:

The Government could be wasting its money by investing in surveillance cameras, according to a study due to be published soon.

This is not what the Sutton survey concluded.

What the survey reveals is that CCTV has had a significant impact on some crimes but not on others. The study shows that in the year following installation of the cameras, crime fell by 13 per cent in the area under surveillance, which is three times the national average.

In this area vehicle crime fell by 57 per cent, burglary by 47 per cent and vandalism by 42 per cent. We would only expect CCTV to have an effect on crimes such as these, which are in the view of the cameras. We would not expect it to have an effect on crimes that are outside their range, for example drug possession, theft from the person inside shops, domestic violence or residential burglary.

Mr Penman further writes, "Criminals also switched to stealing from people when they were inside shops." Our report does not say that crime is being displaced in this way and there is no firm evidence available to show that this is the case.

Yours faithfully,

Duncan Grant

Research Officer

London Borough of Sutton

Sutton, Surrey