CCTV - History


The first CCTV system was installed by Siemens AG at Test Stand VII in Peenemünde, Germany in 1942, for observing the launch of V-2 rockets. The noted German engineer Walter Bruch was responsible for the technological design and installation of the system.

In the U.S. the first commercial closed-circuit television system became available in 1949, called Vericon. Very little is known about Vericon except it was advertised as not requiring a government permit.

CCTV recording systems are still often used at modern launch sites to record the flight of the rockets, in order to find the possible causes of malfunctions, while larger rockets are often fitted with CCTV allowing pictures of stage separation to be transmitted back to earth by radio link.

The history of CCTV in the United States varies from that of the United Kingdom. One of its first appearances was in 1973 in Times Square in New York City. The NYPD installed it in order to deter crime that was occurring in the area however crime rates did not appear to drop much due to the cameras. Nevertheless, during the 1980s video surveillance began to spread across the country specifically targeting public areas. It was seen as a cheaper way to deter crime compared to increasing the size of the police departments. Some businesses as well, especially those that were prone to theft, began to use video surveillance.

During the 1990s digital multiplexing, which allowed for several cameras at once to record, and introduced time lapse and motion only recording, increased the use of CCTV across the country and increased the savings of time an money. From the mid 1990s on, police departments across the country installed an increasing number of cameras in various public spaces including housing projects, schools and public parks departments. Following the September 11 attacks, the use of video surveillance has become a common occurrence in the country to deter future terrorist attacks.

In September 1968, Olean, New York was the first city in the United States to install video cameras along its main business street in an effort to fight crime.

CCTV later became very common in banks and stores to discourage theft, by recording evidence of criminal activity. Their use further popularised the concept. The first place to use CCTV in the United Kingdom was King's Lynn, Norfolk.

In recent decades, especially with general crime fears growing in the 1990s and 2000s, public space use of surveillance cameras has taken off, especially in some countries such as the United Kingdom.

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