Will the installation of closed circuit surveillance cameras - well-marked, wireless, adjustable, all-weather - help fight crime? I don’t know.
Common sense suggests that more “eyes on the street” - people walking around, people sitting at outdoor cafes, busybody neighbors looking out windows, and camera systems - will both discourage criminals and make it easier to convict those whose misdeeds were witnessed.
Chicago, Baltimore, and - even - Collinsville already use them. So does virtually every mall in the country.
The St. Louis police department and the Downtown St. Louis Partnership will begin installing and monitoring a small network of cameras in very public areas of the Central Business District and Downtown West over the next several weeks. Civilian monitors will watch the camera feeds and call police if they see crimes or suspicious activity. In high-traffic neighborhoods like these where low-level, but definitely annoying, crimes like car break-ins are problems, I think the new cameras are worth trying. If the Downtown cameras can allow several officers to spend some of their time doing more urgent policing, the experiment will be worth the expense.