State legislation and local ordinances are increasingly requiring retail establishments to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems to reduce the risk of robbery and robbery-related employee injury. However, little is known about the effectiveness of CCTV systems in reducing retail robbery, and even less is known about the added benefit of these systems over less expensive evidence-based prevention approaches. The long-term goal of the proposed project is to inform the development of policies for CCTV system implementation in retail environments for the reduction of robbery and robbery-related violence. The overall objective is to understand the role of CCTV systems in the prevention of retail robbery and robbery-related employee injury. The proposed project builds on an existing NIOSH-funded study, where police department crime prevention specialists are disseminating an evidence-based robbery and violence prevention program in their business communities (Grant #: R01 OH009527).
The specific aims of the proposed project are to: 1. Describe how the presence of an overt CCTV system in the retail environment affects the decision- making process of individuals considering a robbery, 2. Describe how CCTV systems installed in retail businesses compare with security industry standards developed by the International Association for Identification's Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technology, and 3. Examine the effectiveness of CCTV systems in reducing robbery and robbery-related violence in retail businesses above what evidence-based programs already provide.
Aim 1 will use a self-administered survey of 300 individuals recently paroled from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and released into the city of Oxnard (California).
Aim 2 will use a data collection instrument developed by private security consultants and completed by the crime prevention specialists currently disseminating evidence-based recommendations to businesses.
Aim 3 will use a prospective cohort design to examine the association between CCTV systems and robbery and robbery-related employee injury rates over a one-year period, controlling for business implementation of existing evidence-based strategies. Accomplishing these aims will result in recommendations for the installation and operation of CCTV systems within the context of a comprehensive robbery and violence prevention program and will result in recommendations for how business operators can improve CCTV systems to meet security industry guidelines. The contribution of the proposed project is significant because policymakers are developing legislation that is not backed by adequate evaluation of the effectiveness of CCTV systems and the types of retail settings that may gain the most from them.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed project is relevant to public health because it will inform the development of comprehensive programs to reduce robbery and violence in retail businesses. This will be done by understanding the role of CCTV systems in these comprehensive programs as well as the barriers businesses face in implementing and maintaining such systems.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Research Project (R01)
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Safety and Occupational Health Study Section (SOH)
Program Officer
Frederick, Linda J
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
Chapel Hill
United States
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Cabell, A; Casteel, C; Chronister, T et al. (2013) Factors influencing law enforcement decisions to adopt an evidence-based robbery prevention program. Health Educ Res 28:1105-15