The introduction of CCTV and associated changes in heroin purchase and injection settings in Footscray, Victoria, Australia

Nick Scott, Peter Higgs, Jonathan P Caulkins, Campbell Aitken, Shelley Cogger, Paul Dietze

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: In June 2011, closed-circuit television (CCTV) was introduced in Footscray (a suburb of Melbourne, Australia) to help deter street-based drug trading. We investigate whether there were subsequent shifts in the settings (e.g., street, house) in which heroin was purchased or injected by people who inject drugs (PWID). Methods: Using heroin purchase data from the Melbourne Injecting Drug User Cohort Study, multinomial logistic models with fixed effects for CCTV introduction were used to estimate the percentage of: (1) heroin purchased on the street, from mobile dealers and in house settings; and (2) heroin injections occurring in street, car, public toilet, and house settings. Displacement effects were investigated with a logistic model capturing the likelihood of traveling to Footscray to purchase heroin. Results: Following CCTV introduction, the percentage of heroin injections occurring in public toilet settings decreased by 13 % (95 % CI −27 %, −0 %). This was accompanied by a non-significant increase in the percentage of heroin injections in street settings of 23 % (95 % CI −1 %, +41 %). Changes in other settings were small and non-significant. No suburb displacement effects were found. Conclusions: The introduction of CCTV in Footscray may have displaced PWID who previously injected heroin in public toilets to street settings. Apart from this, Footscray’s street-based heroin market operates much as it did before CCTV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-275
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Criminology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Closed-circuit television
  • Drug market
  • Heroin
  • People who inject drugs

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