An Examination of the Impacts of CCTV Cameras in Drug Markets Areas in Jersey City, New Jersey

Emmanuel Barthe, Kean University
Justin T. Ready, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

This paper considers the long-term impact of CCTV cameras on drug-related crimes and disorders in major drug market areas. We use time series analysis to examine trends in calls for service and arrests over a 5-year period in treatment and comparison areas. We also draw from place manager interviews to understand the environmental factors that facilitate or impair the effective use of cameras to control open-air drug activities. Ten CCTV cameras were simultaneously installed in drug market areas in Jersey City, New Jersey in August 2000. The cameras were present in the target sites for more than two years and were subject to regular maintenance. The drug markets were located at street intersections that had a history of generating large numbers of calls for service and arrests for drug-related crimes and disorders. In fact, many of the same intersections were examined in the NIJ sponsored drug market analysis program (DMAP) in 1992. Prior to the installation of the cameras, we matched each intersection with a comparison area that would not host a camera, but was similar in terms of its physical layout and calls for service and arrests for drug-related crimes and disorders. The findings compare crime trends in the camera locations to comparison areas and highlight environmental factors that affected the successeful implementation of CCTV cameras in the study sites.

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Updated 05/20/2006