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The Practice of CCTV Surveillance for Crime Prevention: Budgeting and Placing Open-street Cameras in Korea
The Practice of CCTV Surveillance for Crime Prevention: Budgeting and Placing Open-street Cameras in Korea
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December 01, 2018


Ⅰ. Introduction [Background] As previous studies regarding public CCTV has been interested in its effectiveness on preventing crime, realistic questions - e.g. budgeting and placing open-street CCTVs, and managing pressures and strengthening decision-making in relation to CCTV installation - have been rarely highlighted. This study seeks to explore 1) how CCTV has been quickly positioned itself as a representative crime prevention policy in Korea; 2) how many public CCTVs are installed and operated (for crime prevention purposes), and how public place surveillance is regulated; 3) how much (national and local) governments funding has been provided for installing and monitoring CCTV, and whether there is a difference regarding access to CCTV grants between cities and suburbs and among local governments; 4) how Korean citizens are perceived on the public CCTVs, and how they think about issues in budgeting and placing open-street CCTVs. Comparing our public CCTV operations to those of other countries (such as U.K., Australia, and Japan) and drawing up practical implications are the main purposes of this study as well. Ⅱ. Expansion of Public CCTV for Crime Prevention Since five public CCTVs have been first implemented in Gangnam-gu in 2002, CCTV seems more geared, and has come to be more associated with national and local responses to managing public safety. As national responsibility for safety from crime has emerged, transitioning to integrated control system has been emerged and sources of funding have been increased as well. Furthermore, competitions among local governments to expand CCTV program in order to obtain certification of ‘safety cities’ in the country can be found. Ⅲ. Actual condition in CCTV installation and operation Based on the national CCTV standard data, procurement service contracts data, and data from Information disclosure claim, status of installation and operation of public CCTVs was analyzed. * [Converged purposes of installing CCTV on crime prevention] In 2017, 33,395 cameras in 21,798 locations are installed for the purpose of preventing crime; Among all public CCTVs, most of them are set up for crime prevention purposes (85,418 cameras in 51,229 locations). It is not too much to say that the majority of public CCTVs in Korea are aimed at crime prevention. * [Expansion of costs for installation, maintenance and monitoring] The amount of contract costs related to public CCTV program reached 6,103 cases in 2017 and 462.64 billion won, compared to 77 cases and 8.89 billion won in 2002. Over the past 16 years since 2002, the total amount of contract costs for installation, maintenance and monitoring was 2.97 trillion won. If adding the budget spent on the construction and operation of public CCTV integrated control centers, it amounts to 4.16 trillion won. * [‘Safety’ gap among local governments] The city and district units have statistically significant effects on the differences in the budget size. In 2018, national fund was highly allocated to district units: The national budget allocated to the district units accounted for 22.2 percent of the yearly budget to be spent on the installation and operation of public CCTVs in the district level. * [Intervention of metropolitan and provincial governments in CCTV installation and operation] Recently, it is found that some metropolitan and provincial governments have intervened in installing and operating public CCTVs by themselves. Emphasizing the need for a role to coordinate regional variations, metropolitan and provincial governments would be more involved in the installation and operations of CCTVs aimed at preventing crimes. * [Reinforced link with resident participation budget system] According to the Information disclosure claim result, 35 local governments allocated 15.84 billion won to programs for installing and operating open-street CCTVs through the Resident Participation Budget System in 2014; In 2017, 72 local governments allocated 22.59 billion won, which means the program allocation related to the installation and operation of CCTVs has increased 1.6 times (based on the total budget) under the resident participation budget system. Local governments that handle issues regarding public CCTVs within resident participation budget system are expected to increase for some time. Ⅳ. Citizen’s Perception on public CCTVs The results of the survey are summarized as follows. * [Evaluation of public CCTVs as high-cost] Though Citizens highly support CCTV policy aimed at preventing crime, they are unaware of the extent of its cost. The highest rate of citizens (n=724, 43.1%) has assumed that it costs more than 4 million won and less than 6 million won for installing a public CCTV. The estimated cost for installing a single open-street CCTV was 37.54 million won in average, which is one-third to one-fifth of real cost for installing a camera with a pole. * [Lack of awareness on organization delivering CCTV programs] Although local governments have been actively pursuing policies related to public CCTVs, about four out of 10 citizens are still not aware that local governments are delivering public CCTV program. 24.6 percent of the respondents (n=492) think that the main body of CCTV operation is the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, while 14.2 percent (n=284) think that police has jurisdiction on the installation and operation of CCTV for the purpose of crime prevention. * [Criteria for selecting public CCTV locations] 54.5% of respondents (n=1,092) stated that the status of violent crimes should be considered as the most important criteria in site selection. What respondents selected as a second important criteria was the procedural effort for collecting public opinions, indicating that respondents strongly assess that local residents’ opinions should be reflected in the location-specific decisions for public CCTV installations. * [Location precedence for public CCTVs] 37.6% (n=753) of respondents indicate that residential areas should be considered in the first place in camera locations. Following the residential areas, citizens think that ways to school, parks, and the surroundings of kindergartens have priorities in determining the location of street cameras. * [Citizen’s ‘trust’ in the effectiveness of CCTV on crime prevention] 88.9% (n=1,780) of respondents ‘believe’ that public CCTVs are effective in preventing crime, while only 5.0 percent (n=100) are negative on it and 6.1 percent (n=122) said they are not sure about it. Furthermore, 46.5% (n=930) of the respondents assess that CCTVs in public places are more effective in preventing crime than police. Ⅴ. Budgeting and placing open-street cameras in other countries U.K. * In 2007, the Home Office published the ‘National CCTV Strategy’; it suggests a more coordinated standardised approach to surveillance cameras would make it ‘more’ effective. The Office of the SCC is unique to the UK and represents the only formal office designed specifically to oversee the governance and provision of surveillance cameras. * Many local authorities perceived the main beneficiaries of surveillance cameras to be law enforcement agencies, in particular the police, and the criminal justice system, and that these institutions where not contributing financially to the costs of surveillance. This situation has become particularly acute when cameras need replacing and systems need upgrading. This scenario has led some local authorities to remove cameras and shut down schemes. Australia *The survey findings revealed that decision-making regarding street camera programs correlates to perceptions of local councils across nine core themes: 1. whether these systems are generally financially sustainable; 2. whether financial and social costs are manageable; 3. the availability of internal and external funding; 4. whether economic growth was attributable to street camera programmes; 5. whether localized need was being prioritized and served (with regard to camera site selection) 6. whether political, business, police and community interests were manageable; 7. community engagement; 8. privacy management; and, 9. whether there was sufficient evidence and evaluation of programme outcomes and impact. Japan * Japan has introduced CCTV for crime prevention measure in 1994, which is prior to Korea. Due to strong legal protection of privacy, however, its implementation was not getting triggered. In Japan, police is the primary determinants of site selection and operation regarding CCTV. Recorded images have to be used to the minimum necessary, and any use of images has to be reported to Tokyo Metropolitan Public Safety Commission and/or each Prefecture Public Safety Commission. Recorded data is usually kept for a week (7 days) in the country, whereas it is allowed to be kept the data for a month (30 days) in Korea. Ⅵ. Conclusion and Suggestions [Policy direction] In order to point out operational issues on public CCTVs and to come up with suggestions, four policy directions are established as follows: 1. Clarity of information related to budgeting and placing open-street cameras; 2. Transparency in the process of determining public CCTV installation and operation; 3. reaffirmation of the Constitution and the principle of privacy that the use of intrusive means such as CCTV cameras should be made to the minimum extent necessary; 4. Recognition of public CCTVs as a (temporarily) public good for crime prevention. [Practical recommendations] As a short-term policy, it is recommended that the purpose of camera installation and statistics related to the use of video information should be opened regularly. Related to this, it is recommended to consider to establish an organization that oversees the conduct of covert surveillance and use of recorded images by public authorities. The Office of Surveillance Camera Commissioners in U.K. can be an example for it. In a near future, local governments should endeavor to demonstrate program outcomes and, if possible, the effectiveness of CCTV in reducing crime. Probable preconditions for ensuring the sustainability of street camera programs - including ways how to ensure funding and demonstrate social benefit to justify the costs - should be addressed as well. First and most importantly, efforts should be accompanied to mitigate the dependency on surveillance being extended in the name of crime prevention.

Mingyeong Kim

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Hyeonho Park

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C.W.R Webster

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