60% of Americans Believe Tensions Would Be Reduced With Body Cams



With the current state of policing across America being debated nationwide, Reveal, developer of body worn video systems, released its 2015 Policing Perspectives Report to benchmark American attitudes towards body cameras and policing. According to the report, well over half (60%) of Americans believe that if all police officers wore body cameras, police/community tensions would be reduced. In addition, a recent study found that almost nine in ten (88%) American’s are in favor of body cameras for police.

Reveal’s report indicates that despite clear support for body cameras, many Americans aren’t clear on how they work and a staggering 61 percent of respondents don’t know if their local police force already wears them. Conducted by accredited research firm YouGov, key highlights from the report include:

  • Of the 60 percent of Americans who believe body worn cameras would reduce community/police tensions, 47 percent believe they would be reduced by a lot
  • Men (57%) are less likely than women (63%) to think tensions would be reduced if all police were to wear cameras  
  • Not just supported by millennials (57%), 66 percent of those aged 55+ think that tensions would be reduced if body worn camera technology were implemented
  • While support of body cameras is clear, many Americans are confused. One in six (17%) incorrectly believe police forces across all U.S. cities are already using body cameras and one in six (16%) incorrectly think cameras are recording for police officers’ entire shifts, and cannot be switched off
  • Overall, one third (33%) of Americans don’t know various things about how police body cameras operate, including where they are used and if the government supports them – across the nation, education is needed on the topic

Though the Department of Justice recently awarded $23 million in grants to police departments across the nation, almost one quarter (24%) of Americans are seemingly unaware of this, as they believe that their government doesn’t currently support the use of body cameras.

“The clear support for body cameras in America shows that both law enforcement and the public are looking for a strong, effective solution to support modern day policing,” said Alasdair Field, CEO, Reveal. “Body camera footage acts as an independent witness to any incident and can help foster positive police and community relations.”

The 2015 Policing Perspectives Report also polled American attitudes towards different crimes and opinions towards police. If Americans encountered a scenario in their neighborhood where an officer had arrested a suspected criminal and both were complaining the other had assaulted them, 35 percent would believe the police officer was most likely telling the truth, while, showing there is some distrust amongst Americans, one in ten (10%) would trust the person arrested.

Shockingly, if witnessing certain crimes, some Americans would take a picture or film it on their phones before calling the police, or in dangerous situations, even before leaving the scene or calling a friend. Americans would record the following crimes on their phone before calling 911 or taking any other action:

  • Vandalism – 11 percent (more than one in ten)
  • Drug deal – 7 percent (one in 14)
  • Burglary or theft – 4 percent
  • Assault and battery – 3 percent
  • Sexual assault – 2 percent
  • Murder – 1 percent

A worrying number of Americans turn a blind eye to crime. Over one in five (21%) Americans would ignore a drug deal while only one percent of Americans would ignore a burglary, assault, sexual assault or murder, respectively. However, many Americans would intervene or try to stop a crime as their first move (35%) if they were to witness sexual assault. Many Americans would also intervene or attempt to stop the following crimes before making any other move:

  • Assault and battery – 21 percent (one in five)
  • Murder – 10 percent (one in ten)
  • Vandalism – 9 percent (one in eleven)
  • Burglary or theft – 6 percent

“Given the striking public attitudes towards crime and policing in America, efficiently and reliably recording and documenting crimes and police interaction with the public is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’; it’s become a necessity that benefits the police and public in equal measure,” said Field.

Reveal offers a front-facing screen on its’ cameras. This feature allows greater transparency that benefits both the police officers and the public.

Research Methodology

Reveal commissioned YouGov PLC—a third party, professional research and consulting organization—to poll the views of a sample of 1,122 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken in September 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

About Reveal

Reveal makes smart, efficient and secure body worn video systems for police departments, prisons, local governments and private security firms in over 35 countries around the world. Reveal is helping to transform the jobs of frontline workers and makes the only body worn camera with a front-facing screen, providing transparency between law enforcement and the public.

Founded in 2002, Reveal provides an end-to-end solution, from its innovative and unique body worn cameras to its Digital Evidence Management Software (DEMS) that enables users to securely upload, manage and maintain footage.

Reveal has offices in the U.S, Europe and Asia.

Learn more about Reveal