Why CCTV is not the answer to sexual assault

I’ve heard a lot of talk about CCTV recently, and this really worries me. It more than worries me, it disturbs me.

I am genuinely pleased to hear that the experiences of women are seriously being included in mainstream dialogue, and I am pleased to hear that people are looking for tangible solutions to sexual assault, harassment and rape. I fear, however, that positing CCTV as the answer takes a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to crime, and ignores the very nature of sexual crimes themselves.

The first, and possibly most important thing to note, is that the effectiveness of CCTV is controversial. The effectiveness of CCTV varies wildly, depending on location, number of cameras in place and the types of crimes being filmed. CCTV tends to be successful, for example, in car parks, and does reduce the rate of vehicle related crimes. Where CCTV is dramatically less effective, and why I take such issue with CCTV, is in relation to sexual assault.



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