OJP: There’s Almost No Research on Body-Worn Cameras


New York City Public Advocate Letitia James this week called for the nation's largest police department to join other law enforcement agencies across the country in testing new body-worn camera systems for officers.

But are body-worn cameras effective?

A new federal Office of Justice Programs report finds that an extreme lack of research leaves the question all but unanswerable. The report reviewed available research, finding just five empirical studies from the U.S. and England, which “vary widely in their methodological rigor (and) represent the entire body of evidence on body-worn cameras.”

The report provides an overview for law enforcement agencies of perceived pros and cons of the technology, as identified by the five studies.

Four of the studies documented decreases in citizen complaints, as well as police use of force and assaults on officers. Available research also suggests that body-worn cameras offer evidentiary benefits for resolving citizen complaints against officers.

But some of the perceived benefits of body-worn cameras have gone largely untested, according to the report, including their impact on transparency citizen views of police legitimacy, according to the report.

Read the full report HERE.

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