No. XXXIV (2012)

Visual monitoring of public places in a big city on the example of Warsaw. An attempt of cost and profit analysis

Paweł Waszkiewicz
University of Warsaw

Published 2012-01-01


  • visual monitoring

How to Cite

Waszkiewicz, P. (2012). Visual monitoring of public places in a big city on the example of Warsaw. An attempt of cost and profit analysis. Archives of Criminology, (XXXIV), 253–273.


Vision monitoring system cameras have been merging into the landscape of public places in Polish agglomerations for over a decade. Their spread neither has been publicly discussed nor it has been examined what is their effectiveness in crime prevention and as an irrefutable proof in criminal proceedings. Also the legislator has long failed to attempt to regulate this sphere – which not only in theory can be in conflict with the right to privacy. Similarly, no financial analyses of creating and maintaining complex systems have been made. The article presents research from selected countries (United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Poland) on preventive effectiveness of video surveillance systems based on police and other service statistics as well as victimisation studies of inhabitants. The problem of economic analysis of the systems of this type in public areas of big cities on the example of the research by M. Spriggs and A. Gill (United Kingdom) is also discussed. An attempt of cost calculation of the greatest Polish system functioning in Warsaw is also made. It includes both material and social costs. They are compared with potential and actual profits from the use of the system and accompanied by a short survey of research on the effectiveness of video surveillance systems. Warsaw has been chosen because of the size of the system and relatively greatest availability of financial data and reports from Zakład Obsługi Systemu Monitoringu Warszawy (Surveillance System Administration Office of the Capital City of Warsaw). The article summarises the descriptions of administrators’ and system owners’ reactions to the results of the studies.


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