We live in a constant threat of attack from solo gunmen to suicidal bombers. In order to live safer, we install home security cameras in and out of our house.

Then there come some other issues: What about public surveillance? Should cameras be placed in public places? Are security cameras an invasion of privacy? What are the CCTV advantages and disadvantages?

In a debate about whether surveillance cameras should be put in public areas, like schools, stores, libraries, airports, bars, and clubs, some individuals feel more secure with the cameras, while other citizens and privacy advocates feel nervous about the fact that they are under surveillance every time they are out in public.

Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of CCTV in public places.


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Pros and Cons of Surveillance Cameras in Public Places

Are Security Cameras an Invasion of Privacy

In a public surveillance cameras good or bad debate, the first question is whether the surveillance cameras in public places are an invasion of privacy.

42% say yes and 58% say no, according to the debeate.org in the security cameras and privacy discussion.

When you are walking down the street, driving in your car, or hanging out with boyfriends and girlfriends, you will be monitored with cameras placed in public. This creates a complete picture of the private life of an individual. We all have a private life and we don't want others or the government to know.

Surveillance Cameras Invasion of Privacy

Yet, public surveillance does help with the investigation and protect us. There are no laws that prohibit surveillance cameras in public places. And more than half of the reviewed citizens think that cameras would not be an invasion of privacy if they were put in places that are not private, like in the parking lots or in business.

In fact, laws on surveillance cameras in public places are sparse and only a few of the states in the United States pass statues that regulate the public usage of the video surveillance.

For example, in New York, police can only use video surveillance as a part of the investigation into the alleged criminals after obtaining a warrant from local authorities.

However, putting hidden security cameras in public places, like bathrooms, changing rooms and other places where an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, are prohibited in most cases (click here to learn why).

Further Reading: Check this post to learn whether it is legal to set up security cameras in workplaces.

Pros of Surveillance Cameras in Public Places

Why are the benefits of surveillance cameras in public places? Here list several advantages of why we need public surveillance.

Pro 1. Public Video Surveillance Improves Public Safety

When we install a home security camera, we gain increased house safety. Just like that, the main benefit of surveillance cameras in public spaces is also the increase in public safety. Public surveillance cameras help you stay safe while clubbing, shopping, and traveling.

The public security cameras can be used as a way to keep an eye out for crimes. PTZ security cameras put in public spaces, like a crossroad, a retail store, parking lots, museums, concert halls, do an excellent job in providing 360° seamless surveillance solutions.

Additionally, crimes can be deterred before they even begin in some cases. If a suspicious individual or individuals or items are seen in an area, the appropriate authorities can be contacted to move into the area before any damage is done or any crime is committed. Moreover, any people in the area can be cleared as a precaution.

Since public safety is guaranteed, people's fear of crime can also be reduced, while their sense of security is created.

Public Surveillance Camera System

According to a survey by the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2015, nearly 80% of public schools put up surveillance systems in public places to secure campuses.

To ensure students' safety, administrators of Broward County School have announced that they will introduce AI-powered facial recognition security systems to the campuses after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018 that led to the death of 17 students and staff.

Pro 2. Public Surveillance Cameras Reduce Crime Rate

Video surveillance statistics show that camera surveillance does reduce crime – after security cameras were put in public, crime incidents in Humboldt Park dropped 20%.

If an individual knows that there are live surveillance cameras in a certain area, they may be less willing to commit a crime near the location for the fear of being caught.

Some authorities place public cameras in Walmart and other shops, hoping that the cameras will help prevent crimes from being committed.

Surveillance Camera in Public Places Pros

Pro 3. Public Video Surveillance Helps Catch Criminals

If a crime is committed in an area where a public surveillance camera has been set up, the chances of catching the criminal are much higher.

Facial recognition software has improved greatly over the years. So, if criminals are captured by security cameras in public places, the local authority is able to recognize and catch them easier with facial recognition technology. Posters can be created and the images can be aired on network television to help spread the word about the criminal.

Without the surveillance cameras in public places, it can be extremely difficult to gain a quality description of the person who committed the crime, even if there were eyewitnesses.

Catching criminals is one of the best benefits of surveillance cameras in public places. The bombing at Boston Marathon is a good example. It only took the FBI three days to release blurry shots of the two suspects, taken by a surveillance camera installed in a department store.

Public Surveillance Cameras a Good Idea

Pro 4. Video Cameras in Public Locations Provide Evidence and Gather Clues

Another benefit of surveillance is that any footage that captures a crime being committed can be used in a court of law as evidence against the accused.

In some cases, if there were no CCTV security camera systems in public places, there would be little or no evidence to convict the person of the crime and the individual may go free. With night vision security cameras on watch, robbers can be recognized even if they commit a crime in dark areas.

Additionally, in some cases, the public video surveillance footage can also help prove someone's innocence if they have been accused of a crime that they did not commit.

Benefits of Public Surveillance Cameras

Research on the value of CCTV systems shows that CCTV footage is classified as useful in 62.2% of robbery investigations and nearly 61% of assault investigations.

Pro 5. Public Video Surveillance Brings Convenience for Everyday Life

Some cities have placed cameras on stop lights as a way to help prevent people from speeding or from going through a red light.

And also, relevant authorities can monitor road conditions with the live surveillance cameras. So they can make real-time traffic reports, helping people choose the right time and road when going out.

Surveillance Cameras in Public Places Essay

Cons of Security Cameras in Public Places

While there are advantages of CCTV, there are disadvantages.

What's wrong with public video surveillance? Here are some bad points of public CCTV cameras.

Con 1. Surveillance Systems Are Easily Abused

A con of surveillance cameras in public places is that these security cameras may be abused. One example of how a public camera may be misused is that information gathered by law enforcement can be used as a form of blackmail.

Another form of abuse is voyeurism. Spying on women with public surveillance cameras is quite common, which becomes quite an issue that needs to be dealt with.

Overall, the simple lack of control or limits on public camera use is one of the biggest problems. Until now, there is no a good check-and-balance system, in order to prevent abuses from occurring.

Surveillance Camera in Public Place Cons

Con 2. Effectiveness of a Public Security Camera Is Doubted

Another controversy of the use of surveillance cameras in public places is that its effectiveness has not been proven. While there has been a push for more public CCTV cameras to be placed in public places because of the threat of terrorist attacks, it is quite clear that a suicidal bomber is not going to be deterred by the fact that there is a camera in place.

Public Security Cameras Disadvantages

Con 3. Public Camera Surveillance Is Expensive

One of the arguments against the widespread use of public surveillance cameras is that it costs big money. Since it is not effective enough to deter crimes and theft, why would we spend too much money in it, which not only fails to make us safer but also violates our personal rights?

Surveillance Cameras in Public Places Debate

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, officials in Michigan have been proposing to put up public video surveillance for years, but ended up concluding that the limited results could not justify high maintenance and personnel costs.

Conclusion of Installing Public Surveillance Cameras

In today's world, public cameras can be extremely helpful.

After the Orlando nightclub shooting, how to stay safe in public places, say, a night club, has been a hot topic. Needless to say, placing cameras in strategic areas throughout a city can help ensure public safety, protect property, and prevent crimes.

On the other hand, there are always crimes which are not deterred by surveillance cameras. And the abuse of public video cameras would violate privacy and personal rights. Therefore, how to balance public safety and personal privacy needs to be considered further.

As far as I am concerned, the benefits of surveillance outweigh the disadvantages greatly.

According to FBI statistics on surveillance cameras, there were an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes 8,277,829 property crimes reported in 2014, and the crime rate has been rising in recent years.

I can't imagine how bad the situation would be if there were no public security cameras. There is no much about the concern of privacy violation when you behave yourself in public places. Security in public places should always be put on the top of priority.

If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about. What do you think about surveillance cameras in public places? Feel free to share your ideas by leaving a comment below!


  • Nisha Marcosi

    Hey, The blog you have posted here is too Good. Its very helpful for me… I had also used some CCTV in my business, I have ordered few CCTV cameras from https://www.reolink.com.

  • Lisa Megan

    Great article. I am totally convinced with all the points. Installing cameras at public place though expensive but is helpful to control the crime rate and gather clues.

  • […] This website provides some pros and cons of surveillance cameras in public places. […]

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  • William Fummey


  • William Fummey
  • Remember, once facial recognition cameras are highly evolved, a cult or corrupt government can exploit you or find the gays, jews, or other minorities and an algorithm can manipulate your life. Too sabatoging. Invasive. I see these cameras everywhere. I just was part of a place that was using surveillance to gang stalk me. ACLU has a great insight on the true dangers.

    • Hi Victor, thank you for sharing your concern with us. The security camera might be ”invasive” as you mentioned – when nothing happens, but you will thank god for having it when real danger occures.
      Anyway the security camera is a important and the probably most reliable way to protect your property and keep you safe.

  • That technology is being used to imprison, torture & kill women. U.S Laboratories are sorely lacking Adequate Surveillance if a fantasy wart STD can be used to obligate children into Chemical Circumcision -&- shame women into giving painful degrading Biopsies. Gender Equality is the tragedy that allows everyone to be circumcised. Chemicals have been given personhood & just the rumor of the cancers they cause has been monetized to sterilize the public, & now it`s merging with the Yearly Pink Ribbon Gag. Using Images of Women btw! Whose the Defamation League for that? DSS?

  • A student

    wowI agree with having them in public, but not in some places. Clubs shouldn have them, it seems like a high violation of privacy(even though I ahve not entered a club once, I only know they exist and what goes on) Stores and play places would be a great olace for the cameras. You just need the right person to view the footage or watch for any suspision aactivities. A mall would also be a great place for a watching eye.

    • Amanda

      Good points! Thanks for sharing.

  • Amanda

    Hi, there, the questions you bring up are not specifically discussed and mandated by the law. However, here are a few things you may consider:

    #1. The posting of signs informs homeowners and others that the area is under surveillance and it can magnify the camera's impact on deterring crime. So we'd suggest using the surveillance signs in public areas.

    #2.The HOA should make some rules concerning video surveillance. For example, the board members should only view the camera recordings in a centralized office in a formal business-like setting. And the board may also discuss whether it's allowed to record and save the security camera footage.

    Hope this helps.

  • Amanda

    So whether the government could use the public security cameras properly matters a lot. And I think it's a personal decision on whether to trust the government or not. After all, we have no control over the public infrastructure.

  • r4yz4

    The thing is, i don't quite see the relevance of putting up CCTV in public places such as bus stop and such. bcz y, if bad people want to do something bad.. i'm quite sure they won't do it in public, unless they're stupid. 2nd thing is, what happens when this public CCTV being misused? instead of being the tool for safety, they're being used for stalking.. route planning, getaway route.. and if they knew where is the loc of these CCTV are placed, so they'll avoid getting caught in them n makes it even harder to catch them. we're living in a hi tech world, everything can be hack nowadays.

    • Amanda

      Hi there, thanks for sharing your thoughs with us 🙂

      • r4yz4

        Yw 🙂

  • leart

    okay, lets go and live in north Korea.. only there people should not have nothing to hide and be pure and loyal ..
    your a scared pussy without a real life

  • Liz Maxx

    Your comment does not make sense... Run-on sentence, lack of punctuation and spacing, not worded properly... Is the school project you're working on for elementary school? Based on your comment I would guess you are maybe eight years old?

  • Thx

    This article was very useful for my school essay. Thanks

    • Amanda

      So glad the information helps. : )

  • hossein javadi

    Zahra Rameshjan:
    I dont agree with some of the cameras that used in shops bacause most of them dont have audio cameras and they are just face cameras. in the other hand the face security cameras are good for example when some one get caught shoplifting we can find the shoplifters quickly and with out problems and the audio cameras are also good because you can install audio cameras on the phone and when it happen the sounds of it will make us realize that there is a danger and the auodio camera and face camera are getting good together.

    • Amanda

      Good points! That's why there are more and more cameras have built-in audio to record sound and send loud alerts with higher resolution, like the 5MP security cameras even 4K ones.

    • Amanda

      Good points! That's why there are more and more cameras have built-in audio to record sound and send loud alerts with higher resolution, like the 5MP security cameras even 4K ones.

  • hossein javadi

    ???Rh???: Reyhaneh Solgi
    Dear Amanda :
    I think your article is really helpful and I learned lots of things that I didnt know because you described everything really well and completely. And I agree with part that you said cctvs can reduce crimes and I understood every technology has its pros and cons. And I think it has more cons because I think it is invation of privacy, deterrent and intrusive and finally I should say that we usually think technology make our life safer but it's not in this way ??

    • Amanda

      Hi there, thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. : )

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  • Alice Huang

    very helpful 4 my school project
    thanks 4 all ur help

    • Amanda

      My pleasure 🙂

  • Alice Huang

    just asking, amanda, are u chinese?
    im not racist or anything
    cuz im chinese 2

    • Amanda

      You may have a guess

  • Amanda

    So glad the article is helpful to you : )

  • Jackson

    Thank you Amanda this article heled me sooooooo much with my debating assessment again thank you so much

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  • Douglas Engel

    Public security cameras are an excellent solution to catch the perpetrators of the most heinous of crimes: Child abductors, Child killers, Murderers, Robbers, Rapists, and Gang Crimes such as Carjackings and Assaults. If we had a camera on every street corner, 90% of all these crimes would be easily solvable simply by going to the nearest camera, rewinding, going to the next camera, rewinding, etc. until you arrive at the perps doorstep when he is walking out of his house for the day. These cameras do NOT have to be monitored 24/7, they should simply record with no witness until such a time that the footage is needed. I dream of a day that child rapists will never dare to kidnap a child from a store or playground simply because they know they will be traced back to them every single time. It is worth it. Government cameras in homes? No absolutely not. Some crimes will go unpunished, but out in public if you do something wicked, you get caught.

  • Enrique

    so whats the conversation about

  • robin he

    I really appreciate whoever in the world wrote this blog because it has helped me so much with my school debate.

  • It is proper guidance for me ,if i can use this security camera for my business how this effective on my business ,thanks for posting.



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