This introductory chapter explains the theme of this book, which is about surveillance systems and crime prevention. It evaluates the effectiveness of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and improved street lighting in reducing crime in public spaces, and discusses the politics, theory, and methodology that are central to the study of public-area surveillance and crime prevention. The chapter explores policy choices, challenges, and future directions in the use of these public-area-surveillance methods and evaluates the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of the major forms of surveillance that are designed to prevent crime in public places.
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