Video surveillance helps the public in a lot of ways. It helps with tax collection for toll roads. It also helps prevent red light crashes due to traffic enforcement of intersections. These cameras also help to identify criminals and put them behind bars so that they cannot endanger the public anymore.
I believe surveillance cameras do work to protect the general public. While some may see it as a breach of privacy, I don't believe people should be granted a right to privacy in public venues. These cameras have caught numerous criminals and the result is their removal from society. I believe surveillance cameras are good for the public and they help a great deal.
Mostly, surveillance cameras work as a means to catch criminals after something has already taken place. So, we could argue that they don't protect the public. However, these criminals might have gone on to do even more criminal acts if not apprehended. So while they don't always avert crime, they can help with apprehending and convicting criminals.
Surveillance cameras are good for the public because they deter potential criminals from acting. Also, having video evidence of crimes is a good way to catch and prosecute criminals. Cameras are a good way to keep innocent people safe. People will feel more safe if they are in an area that has security cameras.
Video surveillance cameras do work to an extent to protect the public. The question is what is that protection worth? It is worth giving up your privacy? Is it worth having what you do known to strangers. Many people would say that if you are not doing anything wrong then you shouldn't care if you are being video taped.
Besides the obvious use of reviewing video footage to identify a suspect in any offense, video surveillance changes the way people behave. When you are in public, you are held to a certain level of social behavior. Since the loss of social shaming in our country, people have begun to grow ruder and bolder in public. Knowing that there actions are being permanently filmed can help to stopper some of this inappropriate behavior.
Video surveillance cameras in public places work primarily to spy on people. Places with CCTV systems in place don't seem to have any function preventing crime more than they do invading people's fundamental right to privacy. There doesn't need to be a nanny state where people are put under watch to prevent or reduce crime.