Dash cams are fast becoming standard equipment in both police and civilian vehicles. Dash cams can help reduce crime by providing a dependable and credible eyewitness in a wide range of situations. No matter what happens, this ‘silent witness’ is always there, ready to help. Here are just five ways police dash cams help reduce crime:
1. Detering Further Criminal Activity
It’s an unfortunate fact that, even when police are present, some people have trouble keeping their behavior in tow. Every officer knows that in high-pressure situations, citizens can act in unpredictable ways, especially if they’re scared they might be arrested. Rather than backing down in the face of police presence, some people will turn belligerent or even violent.
However, police dash cams and body worn cameras (BWCs) have been proven to have a de-escalating effect on these kinds of situations. People act differently when they know they’re on camera. They know that they’re not going to be able to fabricate a story later because their actions are being recorded.
One study on the use and impact of police dash cams showed that half of the officers surveyed said that they had been able to de-escalate confrontational situations by explaining to drivers that the interaction was being recorded.
Citizen responses to a separate survey corroborated this finding, showing that half of the citizens surveyed acknowledged that their behavior towards officers would change if they knew there was a camera involved. This means that for officers, it can be important not only to install and use police dash cams but to make any potentially threatening citizen aware of their presence.
2. Video Evidence Improves Conviction Rates
Trustworthy and reliable video footage can function as highly effective evidence in court. Juries in particular are increasingly technologically literate and can have a ‘pictures or it didn’t happen mentality.
Police dash cam footage can be just the kind of solid evidence that juries need to be able to see the incident and trust their own eyes. And the people who know this better than anyone else are the prosecutors charged with handling these cases. 93% of prosecutors surveyed as part of an International Association of Chiefs of Police study rated the use of this video evidence in court as successful or highly successful.
3. Police Dash Cams Reduce Fraudulent Claims
Before police dash cams were in common use, it was possible for citizens to make counterclaims against arresting officers. This increased the police department’s liability, having to expend time and money to fight these claims.
However, video evidence can clear up doubt in cases where an officer’s word is going against a subject’s. In at least half of the recorded instances, the complaints were withdrawn after citizens learned the encounter had been caught on camera. Furthermore, the vast majority of citizen complaints fail to stand up to video evidence — officers are exonerated 93% of the time when footage is available for review.
4. Officer Training
No matter how good an officer is at their job, there’s always room to improve. Police dash cam video can be a powerful tool in training new recruits and veteran officers. Departments can use dash cam video to demonstrate good and bad police actions. By reviewing video footage, police officers can learn from mistakes, as well as view positive behavior and successful police tactics.
The ability to slow video frames down is an equally helpful teaching tool. Whether it’s a use of force incident, or an uneventful traffic stop, viewing a recording in this way can only enhance an officer’s knowledge and perspective.
5. Situational Awareness
You can’t have eyes everywhere, and police officers know this better than anyone. police dash cams provide another set of eyes, especially when integrated with other car-mounted cameras that can help capture the interior of a police vehicle or systems such as the Eyewitness Vantage that can integrate with BWCs.
An officer driving their cruiser can’t simultaneously be watching a suspect being transported in the back, but integrated camera systems can catch everything. In terms of situational awareness and evidence gathering, this can be invaluable.
Kustom Signals is Your Source For Law Enforcement Support
As a leading provider of technology for law enforcement, Kustom Signals is your source for video tools. As many agencies face new requirements for body-worn cameras, our Body-Worn Camera Grant Dashboard will help your agency find the funding needed to make your project a reality.
Through our website, you can connect with a variety of other resources, too. Our Grantfinder portal tracks nearly $800 BILLION in available grants. From our portal, your agency will be able to find available grants, set up alerts for future opportunities, help with keeping track of your funding status, as well as help with grant writing.