Working on behalf of the city of San Francisco, UC Berkeley and CITRIS-affiliated researchers Jennifer King (School of Law), Professor Deirdre Mulligan (School of Information), and Professor Steven Raphael (School of Public Policy) recently released a comprehensive evaluation of the city’s public surveillance camera system, completed over seven months.
San Francisco’s Community Safety Camera Program was launched in late 2005 with the dual goals of fighting crime and providing police investigators with a retroactive investigatory tool. The program placed more than 70 non-monitored cameras in mainly high-crime areas throughout the city. This report released today (January 9, 2009) consists of a multi-disciplinary collaboration examining the program’s technical aspects, management and goals, and policy components, as well as a quasi-experimental statistical evaluation of crime reports in order to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the program’s effectiveness. The results find that while the program did result in a 20% reduction in property crime within the view of the cameras, other forms of crime were not affected, including violent crime, one of the primary targets of the program.