Deployment of CCTV in Saudi Arabia: Security, Culture and Religion

Almotaeryi Resheed, M. Akhtar Ali, Richard Jiang, Ahmed Bouridane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deployment of CCTV surveillance systems has now become a worldwide practice for securing people and businesses alike. A common goal of all CCTV surveillance systems is to detect crime and disorder in a timely manner, enabling the law enforcers to possibly prevent it from happening. The effective deployment of CCTV in Saudi Arabia is of particular interest to researchers and decision-makers as in addition to the usual cons and pros, cultural and religious factors do severely hinder its effective implementation. In particular, as prescribed in the sharia law, men or women are not allowed to take picture/video or acquire picture/video; hence making it very hard to argue in favour of the case for CCTV systems. Based on a simple model of cost-benefit analysis, this study attempts to evaluate the social costs and returns associated with the deployment of CCTV surveillance systems in both public and private places across the country. In so doing, the research has focused on a case study of a large public hospital in Riyadh as a pilot case for evaluation of effectiveness of use of CCTV. Using a large sample of doctors, nurses, workers and patients of the hospital, the study has produced a structured questionnaire survey. The preliminary findings are indicative of several main issues. Firstly, due to lack of education on the part of some patients and workers, over 52% of such participants declared that they had no knowledge about the potential usefulness of the CCTV surveillance in crime reduction. Secondly, a significantly large number of doctors and nurses declared that they were fully supportive of the surveillance systems as they believed it would help reduce theft and provide a safe and secure environment for them to work. Thirdly, although over 50% of participants tend to believe that CCTV systems can help reduce crimes, they were concerned that the staff in charge of such CCTV systems may abuse the power and hence jeopardise the true effectiveness of the system. Finally, according to the initial findings of the study, it is anticipated that there would be more CCTV systems in place in Saudi Arabia as the issue of security tends to overshadow other cultural and religious issues.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Academic & Scholarly Research Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015


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