Harnessing CCTV as a data source in social science: A case study of violence on buses

Adrienne Gregory, Robyn Lincoln

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This research utilized CCTV as a novel observational device to analyze twenty cases of physical violence between drivers and passengers on urban buses. The harnessing of CCTV data enabled an examination of the ways in which crime events unfold in time and space. It permitted detailed attention to the fluid nature of violence, including processes of volatility, escalation, and the role of audiences that would be impossible to capture by any other methodological means. The study found that conflict is precipitated by a build-up of proximal factors; that aggression escalates from the verbal to the physical realm, although this pathway is neither linear nor unidirectional; and that there are termination points where the aggression appears to be resolved but later resumes. The article highlights the potential of CCTV to examine crime events, including the benefits, limitations, and ethical considerations that arise when using this unique data source.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-233
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Humanities and Social Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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