The genius of the modern security camera is this; it doesn’t stop you from committing a crime, doing something immoral or wrong. You stop yourself. It is the eye in the sky, on the side of a building, in a store, shop or supermarket, it is the unblinking viewer who sees all and records all.
This is not altogether a new situation we humans find ourselves in. For hundreds of years, possibly thousands, the general ‘God-fearing’ populace has existed under the yoke of ‘self-moralisation’. Initially, to explain the stars, and the unseen elements, the reasons for the unexplainable (science not being prevalent or convincing enough to explain the real reasons that things happen), and most importantly, life and death, the ultimate unknown, for all of these reasons, deities were formed. Links to these deities have always had positions of authority in society, from tribal, to modern, as holy men, priests, rabbi’s etc. It is these figures that played the largest part in the definition of right and wrong in our lives. The various gods themselves have been the holders of the keys; if we had sinned, we would be punished, or sent to a hell, if we had performed good deeds, we would be looked upon favorably and sent to heaven, or rewarded in some way. And these gods could see everything we did, everything we said, could look into our very souls, so we might feel guilty about the slightest sinful thought we had. Omnipresent, and wrathful, we lived our lives looking up, afraid that next lightening strike would be for us.
Right and wrong, good or bad, the rules of which were defined by our holy people, and the policing of these rules maintained by the old man himself.
But when looked at more logically, it becomes obvious, that regardless of a supreme beings deciding our fates and judging us, the only force in preventing us from sinning were ourselves, in fear of repercussions. ‘Catholic conscience’ is the phrase often used to describe this attitude. We are our own biggest enemy, and our own savior. Whiles this revelation to individual healing and moral monitoring may seem obvious, many people still seem to place their fates – and ultimate punishments in the hands of greater beings. While I am still undecided on fate vs destiny, the crux of my point is that humans have nothing to fear apart from themselves.
Security cameras work on the same principle. We cannot expect every camera monitor to be scrutinized 24hrs a day, many are simply dormant recorders, many are probably just plastic replicas. Either way, they are one of the biggest reducers of crime that society has ever been ‘blessed’ with. Do the criminals stop wanting to commit a crime at the presence of a camera? No, it is simply suppressed for fear of repercussion. Would any of us feel comfortable stealing a chocolate bar in a secluded area of a store? Probably not. We know it’s wrong, because our conscience tells us so. But if weren’t for the prospect of being caught, we would probably just steal it anyway and live with the guilt.
Gods do not stop us from thinking sinful thoughts, or committing crimes, we stop ourselves, in fear of repercussion.
Security cameras can not, by any means, stop us from committing crimes. We stop ourselves, we police our actions, for fear of being caught and punished. Does the camera make us more responsible? Does it remove the criminal instinct? Security cameras do not help to heal the moral issues the crimes are the result of. They merely suppress them, force people to be more secretive in their actions.