A network of CCTV cameras – both fake and real – have helped to deter crime and anti-social behaviour in an Aberdeen high-rise block, residents have found. Dummy cameras mysteriously appeared in North Sea Court in Seaton last August, but the beneficial effect they were having led the council to bring forward plans to install a real CCTV system in their place.
Now, other areas of the coastal city are clamouring to have similar surveillance put in place in a bid to discourage graffiti, theft and other forms of anti-social behaviour.
The placebo effect
The North Sea Court tenement building had been victim to repeated acts of graffiti and damage, including frequent public urination. Aberdeen council had earmarked 2017 as the year in which to install security cameras around the property, but apparently unwilling to wait that long, an anonymous handyman put up several fake cameras in August last year.
The effect of the dummy cameras was instantaneous. Immediately residents noted that the incidence of vandalism dropped away, despite the fact that the cameras weren’t actually functional. Aberdeen City Council investigated and found that the cameras had been installed illegally, but that the benefits they had brought were enough grounds to go ahead with the actual installation ahead of schedule.
“North Sea Court was scheduled to have CCTV cameras installed as part of the lift replacement programme next year,” said a spokeswoman. “However, we understand that residents feel more secure when there are cameras in place, so we have decided to install fully-monitored cameras within the current lifts.”
The real McCoy
Once the real cameras had been put in place, the placebo effect turned into a genuine one. The vandalism and graffiti which had plagued the building has all but abated, with North Sea Courts Residents Association member Lewis McGill vocal in his praise for the new measures.
“The cameras have definitely helped,” he explained. “The lifts are definitely cleaner. I’ve never seen any puddles of urine since the cameras went in, which is a big boost.”
Pleased with the success of the operation, Aberdeen council have indicated their intention to bring the security measures to other high-rise buildings, as well.
“Aberdeen City Council is committed to improving the living conditions of our residents including their health and safety,” commented Ross Grant, a spokesman for the transport and regeneration arm of the council. “The installation of similar systems in other multi-storey buildings will continue this year as part of our lift replacement programme. We hope that the installation of CCTV cameras will continue to make residents feel more secure in their homes.”
Calls for citywide rollout
Aberdonians have also been calling for the council to increase surveillance outside of tenements, too. Several residents living in the vicinity of Ashvale Place and Cuparstone Row have come forward and asked Martin Greig, the chairman of the city’s Community Safety Partnership, to introduce external cameras in their neighbourhood.
However, to date there has only been one report of theft from a parked car in the area, meaning that police may be reluctant to commit the resources to a region that doesn’t appear to suffer from an abundance of crime. Residents say that there is frequent anti-social behaviour in the area and that there is also the suspicion of drug-dealing.
“The CCTV could potentially be a way of identifying people who are up to no good in the area. In the darkness, people would not necessarily feel safe walking along these lanes,” said Councillor Greig. “This is a densely populated area of the city, so anything that can be done to improve the feeling of safety should be investigated.”
Feel the benefits of CCTV yourself
As well as providing valuable evidence if a crime is committed, the mere presence of CCTV cameras can act as a deterrent to misdemeanours and prevent them from happening in the first place. Make sure your own premises are similarly safeguarded. At Bellit Security, we have a full range of CCTV cameras, intruder alerts and access control systems to give you complete peace of mind and keep your property secured. Get in touch with us today!