Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) is a system of monitored signals, used for surveillance and security purposes. Cameras are strategically placed to capture activity, which is then viewed on remote monitors.
These systems are referred to as “closed circuit,” because their content is only accessible by those with permission to see it. The cameras communicate with monitors and video recorders across private coaxial cable runs or wireless communication links.
The most important use for CCTV is for crime prevention. Some critics point to other factors, such as brighter lighting and signs, but the correlation between CCTV and crime decrease is obvious. In fact, CCTV can reduce crime in parking lots by as much as 51% and on public transportation by as much as 23%.
Footage obtained by CCTV is also frequently used as evidence in the prosecution of criminals. As technology progresses, more and more detailed and identifiable images can be used for both prosecution and criminal defence.
A combination of CCTV and GPS technologies can be used for traffic surveillance. From light monitoring to complex data collection, the possibilities are diverse and multi-functional. The UK has seen the most significant developments – there is currently a network of over 1,200 cameras on the roads.
Some environments, such as nuclear facilities and chemical production plants, are simply too dangerous for human surveillance. CCTV systems and the presence of mechanical “eyes” allow monitoring systems and operators to observe these environments.