Security cameras installed across the Corps’ barracks were not an effective tool to reduce criminal activity or prevent sexual assault, according to a year long study of a Marine Corps pilot program.
“Comparison of crime statistics for the pilot year to the two previous years indicated there was no correlation between the implementation of CCTV [closed-circuit television] as a catalyst for reducing criminal activity,” reads a Marine Corps response to questions posed by the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services during its March meeting.
In 2013, then-Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James Amos directed the implementation of security cameras in the barracks housing Marines E-5 and below as part of an effort to curtail sexual assault, according to the DACOWITS response.
Amos’ security camera program was also aimed at countering “non-compliance with established institutional standards such as, hazing, fraternization, drunk and disorderly behavior and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline,” according to the Corps’ response to DACOWITS.
In 2015, then- Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. John Paxton ordered the start of a security camera pilot program across a handful of Marine barracks.
Cameras were installed at 18 barracks across the Corps to include 10 barracks across the Quantico, Virginia base, three aboard Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and five at Camp Pendleton, California, according to the Corps’ response to DACOWITS.
The cameras were installed in 2016 and the pilot program was monitored from Jan 1, 2017 until Dec. 31, 2017.
The Corps found the program to be a flop.
“Analysis of pilot statistics concluded CCTV was not an effective tool for crime prevention or criminal prosecution,” the Corps’ response to DACOWITS reads.
Marine Corps statements regarding the CCTV program were made in response to questions posed by DACOWITS about updates related to changes across facilities following the integration of women into previously closed units and occupations across the military.
The U.S. military lifted the ban on women serving in combat roles and units in 2016.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.