Videotaping in the Criminal Justice System

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  • Surveillance cameras have proliferated in public and private settings. Cameras mounted on buildings and light poles survey city streets, while interior cameras record inside malls, corner stores, subway stations, libraries, and public areas of apartment buildings. Video images can help resolve discussions about past events. Saved video images can be searched by a human—a slow, expensive procedure. Face recognition software can also be used. The cost-effectiveness of video surveillance as a crime-fighting tool is subject to debate. While research does not appear to show conclusively that cameras act as a crime deterrent, they are effective in recording incidents and reducing court time by encouraging guilty pleas. Civil liberties groups are concerned about the collection, archiving, and eventual use of video footage of people engaged in ...

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