According to wikipedia, here are a few examples of the practical use for surveillance cameras.

Crime prevention

A 2009 systematic review by researchers from Northeastern University and University of Cambridge used meta-analytic techniques to pool the average effect of surveillance cameras on crime across 41 different studies. The results indicated that:

  • surveillance cameras caused a significant reduction of crime by on average 16%.
  • The largest effects of surveillance cameras were found in car parks, where surveillance cameras reduced crime by on average 51%.
  • surveillance cameras schemes in other public settings had small and non-statistically significant effects on crime: 7% reduction in city and town centers and 23% reduction in public transport settings.
  • When sorted by country, systems in the United Kingdom accounted for the majority of the decrease; the drop in other areas was insignificant.

The studies included in the meta-analysis used quasi-experimental evaluation designs that involve before-and-after measures of crime in experimental and control areas. However, several researchers have pointed to methodological problems associated with this research literature. First, researchers have argued that the British car park studies included in the meta-analysis cannot accurately control for the fact that surveillance cameras was introduced simultaneously with a range of other security-related measures. Second, some have noted that, in many of the studies, there may be issues with selection bias since the introduction of surveillance cameras was potentially endogenous to previous crime trends. In particular, the estimated effects may be biased if surveillance cameras are introduced in response to crime trends.

It has been argued that problems of selection bias and endogeneity can be addressed by stronger research designs such as randomized controlled trials and natural experiments. A 2017 review published in Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention compiles seven studies that use such research designs. The studies included in the review found that surveillance cameras reduced crime by 24-28% in public streets and urban subway stations. It also found that surveillance cameras could decrease unruly behaviour in football stadiums and theft in supermarkets/mass merchant stores. However, there was no evidence of surveillance cameras having desirable effects in parking facilities or suburban subway stations. Furthermore, the review indicates that surveillance cameras are more effective in preventing property crimes than in violent crimes. Read more...

Industrial processes

Industrial processes that take place under conditions dangerous for humans are today often supervised by surveillance cameras. These are mainly processes in the chemical industry, the interior of reactors or facilities for manufacture of nuclear fuel. Special surveillance cameras for some of these purposes include line-scan surveillance cameras and thermographic surveillance cameras which allow operators to measure the temperature of the processes. The usage of surveillance cameras in such processes is sometimes required by law.

Monitor employees

Organizations use surveillance cameras to monitor the actions of workers. Every action is recorded as an information block with subtitles that explain the performed operation. This helps to track the actions of workers, especially when they are making critical financial transactions, such as correcting or cancelling of a sale, withdrawing money or altering personal information.

Actions which an employer may wish to monitor could include:

  • Scanning of goods, selection of goods, introduction of price and quantity
  • Input and output of operators in the system when entering passwords
  • Deleting operations and modifying existing documents
  • Implementation of certain operations, such as financial statements or operations with cash
  • Moving goods, revaluation scrapping and counting
  • Control in the kitchen of fast food restaurants
  • Change of settings, reports and other official functions.

Each of these operations is transmitted with a description, allowing detailed monitoring of all actions of the operator. Some systems allow the user to search for a specific event by time of occurrence and text description, and perform statistical evaluation of operator behaviour. This allows the software to predict deviations from the standard workflow and record only anomalous behaviour.


Security cameras have provided many benefits to those who use them in their homes and at their place of work. They help people keep an eye on their children, prevent burglars and vandals from stealing or destroying their property as well as increase efficiency and effectiveness of employees at work.


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