Body Camera impact on shopping centre
Retail Theft Down 45% Anti-Social Behaviour Down 15%
Tom Smith is the City Safe Manager with Belfast City Centre Management. In conjunction with the work of Belfast City Council and the PSNI, the BCCM recognises the importance of engaging the private sector with coordinated crime reduction initiatives.
Tom was kindly able to provide some tentative figures for us from a body camera trial scheme in key retail locations in the city. One of the largest Belfast shopping centres was able to report a 43% drop in retail theft and a 15% reduction in anti-social behaviour following the first quarter of a ten month trial. Whilst the retail theft figure cannot be wholly attributed to the use of body cams, it is nonetheless a staggering drop that coincides with the introduction of the cameras in May 2014. The 15% reduction in ASB is certainly attributable to their use. A local bar running a concurrent trial reports that one of our body cameras has diffused or deterred 26 incidents since roll-out. Six court cases are pending that will produce body camera footage as supporting evidence.
The central city shopping-centre in focus has a 13 million footfall per annum and it is anticipated that the project will improve the public perception of safety whilst leading to a reduction in crime and deter assaults in a retail location by up to 75%. It is expected that the project will improve convictions/pleas in court proceedings where a body camera has been used as evidential material, by 90%.
“(The use of the cameras) has clearly decreased anti-social behaviour. It’s raised the confidence of the staff too, they feel they are being looked after by being given this piece of kit. For two years they were wearing a head camera which was sore on their ear and had a cable running to a separate unit, so this was a new thing we trialled, an all-enclosed unit. (The PR5). In fact this is our third camera on trial and this one has come through the pilot scheme very well, where the other two did not. These cameras are durable (in comparison). They are easy to use. The quality of the footage is superb. The colour is great.”
(Security Guard at Shopping Centre)
“It gives me protection. Where I might have been thumped before, have been thumped in fact, now they think twice about it because I’m wearing this camera. Before (an incident) may have fell down in court without sufficient evidence. With the submission of video footage the court accepts this as clear evidence of what happened. Often people will admit guilt before it has gone to court because of the video footage. It saves everybody time and money.
I’ve no problems (with this camera), to me its perfect, better than the one we had. I don’t see the necessity for a screen. We don’t look at the footage anyway. Whenever we bring the camera back in someone else downloads it. It’s managed by the guys that have been allocated to take care of the CCTV footage.
For safety, for protection, for me, ourselves and for the other guy too, it’s perfect. He could claim we physically removed him from the premises, he might say we were too rough for example. That sort of claim happens. But we weren’t, and the video proves that. It’s admissible evidence.”