With a growing population, the need for security has been necessitated by numerous instances of violence, rapes and terror attacks in the past and a constant threat of attack from solo gunmen to suicidal bombers, which seem to have internalised the idea that if they are under surveillance, they are safe, safe from all kinds of possible human-induced attacks.
There is a growing concern in India about women’s safety, as the amount of cases reported in the media depicts the alarming situation of the rising number of criminal cases against women. Indian metro and cities reflect a dangerous trend in the rising number of crimes against women. Safety of women is a major concern and adequate steps need to be taken with immediate effect, this is when video surveillance technology seems to be very helpful. But is it actually helpful? Let us talk about that in detail.
What are CCTV cameras and how do they help?
CCTV is a Closed-Circuit Television, which is a video system having specifically placed cameras that record video images and transmit them to a screen. The primary use of CCTV is for security, monitoring and surveillance purposes in both public and private sectors.
CCTV offers great help when it comes to criminal investigations, evidence requirements, etc.
Expansion of the use of CCTV cameras
The CCTV market growth is increasing day by day and is expected to grow more than 12% by 2023. According to data collected, in the present scenario, China tops the world in CCTV surveillance with the United States, and Germany following it. According to the research, New Delhi is one of the top 10 cities in the world to have the largest number of CCTV cameras.
Reported data of 9 different cities in India accumulates 274,784 surveillance cameras with New Delhi, Chennai, and Pune reporting to have the largest number of CCTV cameras with 179k, 50k and 11.29k, respectively.
How is CCTV surveillance a boon for women?
- Public CCTV cameras help improve the public security of women.
Public CCTV cameras can be used to keep an eye on the happening crimes and give a sense of security to women while they are outside doing their everyday chores. It can be used to deter crimes even before they happen by suspecting the individual or the surrounding.
- CCTV cameras in working places for women’s safety.
Recently, there have been many cases of sexual harassment of working women. Having CCTV cameras in working places like offices gives women a sense of security and safety.
- CCTV cameras at home ensure all over women’s safety.
Personal CCTV cameras put in and outside the house ensures personal security. It can note down each and every mishappening in the surrounding like eve teasing, tracking women, etc and provides solid visual evidence for any crime that happened.
- CCTV can help determine crime and provide evidence.
According to video surveillance statistics, camera surveillance has greatly reduced criminal cases such as rapes, acid attacks, etc., as a person would be less willing to do a crime in presence of live camera surveillance because of the threat of being caught.
CCTV cameras become solid evidence against crimes as it shows how, when and where the crimes were done. Face recognition software has greatly helped investigators in criminal recognition, there have been many cases in which a criminal’s face was recognized and posters were put up to find the criminal and many were sentenced due to it.
How is CCTV surveillance a bane for women?
CCTV footage can also be put in front of a court as evidence of the suspect and would help to punish a culprit for his crime, bringing a sense of justice to the innocent.
Now we all know what advantages CCTV surveillance provides and how safe and secure CCTV surveillance can be for women. But is cctv surveillance actually as safe as it sounds?
- CCTV cameras can be abused.
Surveillance systems can easily be abused. The major disadvantage and a great threat to women are that surveillance cameras can be greatly misused, may that be in blackmailing using information gathered by law enforcement or spying on women. Spying on women with public surveillance cameras has now become quite common.
- CCTV cameras are an invasion of privacy.
42 out of 100 people say CCTV cameras are a real invasion of their privacy. With CCTV cameras everywhere, it is like there is an eye watching them and each and every action of them all the time, making them extra cautious and giving them less freedom. They also say that the face recognition system in CCTV surveillance can lead to major problems for a normal person.
- Crimes happening in the name of surveillance.
There have been many complaints against various shop owners who misused CCTV cameras. In Water Sports Park of Kolkata, people reported that there have been CCTV cameras installed in women’s changing rooms. Finding cameras in women’s changing rooms have now become common, but apart from this public road cameras in front of schools and colleges were misused to view girl’s breasts and buttocks and also public cameras were used to track a girl’s location.
Protest held against CCTV surveillance
There was a major protest held in HONG KONG this year in order to maintain their anonymity.
Also, there was also a group of women who protested against the public usage of CCTV cameras saying, they feel as if someone is looking at them all the time, and they feel unsafe. They protested by painting their faces in order to maintain their anonymity.
There have been many small protests in India too against the false usage of CCTV in the name of safety surveillance.
As we all know that if there is brightness then there will surely be darkness, if there is day then there is night, and there are two faces of a coin. Similarly, if there are advantages to something then for sure there will also be disadvantages to that thing. Now it completely depends upon us whether to overweight advantages over disadvantages or not. It is completely a personal choice. As we all know, not all the five fingers of our palm are similar, similarly not all individuals in the world are similar. It depends upon us what we think and what we feel. So after noting down all the advantages and disadvantages of CCTV surveillance for women, here I leave it upon the readers to select whether or not “CCTV SURVEILLANCE IS A BOON OR A BANE FOR WOMEN”.