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Swiss support video surveillance

Keystone

Most Swiss support the use of video surveillance in public places as a crime deterrent, according to a study by the University of Fribourg.

This content was published on March 15, 2004 - 19:48

But two-thirds say it is unacceptable to use cameras in areas considered private.

The study, conducted in the town of Olten by Francisco Klauser of the Geosciences institute at the University of Fribourg, found that less than two per cent of those questioned thought video surveillance cameras in public places were intrusive.

Supporters of the cameras believed car parks, subterranean walkways, shopping centres and public transport were all acceptable places to have cameras installed.

But two-thirds of respondents who supported cameras said the authorities should ensure there were clear signs indicating their presence.

The use of signs, the study found, would also ensure the cameras acted as a greater crime deterrent.

Boundaries

However, respondents were far less supportive of using cameras in areas considered private, such as offices. Some 66 per cent said surveillance in these places would be unacceptable.

Pilot projects conducted on Swiss trains over recent years have shown that the presence of surveillance cameras reduced cases of vandalism by up to 80 per cent.

At the beginning of the year, the Swiss government gave the green light for the use of surveillance cameras on trains, on condition that the cameras were visible and that the film was deleted within 24 hours.

Swiss Federal Railways is now in the process of installing cameras on more than 200 trains in a bid to increase passenger safety and curb vandalism, which is a growing problem.

In 2002 there were 345 cases of vandalism, more than double the number of the previous year.

However, most of those questioned thought video surveillance was not the best way of deterring crime and believed a bigger police presence would be the most effective measure.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

There are an estimated 40,000 surveillance cameras installed across Switzerland.
Pilot projects on Swiss trains have shown vandalism to reduce by up to 80 per cent with the introduction of cameras.
Some 500 residents of the town of Olten were questioned for the study.
The study was the first of its kind in Switzerland.

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