Monday, 18 February 2008

Talking CCTV cameras to scare away yobs

Residents in Barking and Dagenham may feel safer now that the local Council has installed talking CCTV cameras in the borough.

The cameras have audio cards and loudspeakers which are activated by officers in the Council’s CCTV control room.

From there the officers watch what’s going on in the area and can speak directly to people they feel are acting irresponsibly and also ask them to stop doing something.

But just how effective will the cameras be?

On the one hand the talking cameras may be compared to the Trasnport for London’s polite posters you find at the station asking you to be considerate and not play music too loudly. All words, no action really.

Or imagine if a thief is snatching a woman’s handbag: does he suddenly drop it and flee when the controllers voice booms ‘Now, please drop that bag immediately young man!’

But on the other hand, the cameras may make a difference. Known yobs up to know good may be reminded by the booming voice that they are being watched and scuttle, as opposed to a poster that says ‘Anti-Social behaviour will not be tolerated in this area.’

That’s assuming the voice will indeed have a boom.

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