While there was strong public support for CCTV before it was installed, opinion began to shift when people realised the cameras made little difference.
And researchers found that some of the schemes were botched, making them less effective. Six of the 14 control rooms were left unstaffed for part of the day or night. And in some cases, cameras could not capture clear images at night due to the glare from artificial lights.
The findings come as a blow to the Home Office, which has trumpeted CCTV as a key crime-fighting weapon for the past 10 years.
The report's author, Professor Martin Gill of the University of Leicester, said: "For supporters these findings are disappointing. For the most part CCTV did not produce reductions in crime and did not make people feel safer."
The only one of the 14 schemes found to be a success was targeted at car parks, where it led to a significant drop in vehicle crime. Other schemes in city centres, residential areas and hospitals produced no clear benefits.
Professor Gill said that because government funding was available for CCTV schemes, local officials tended to fit the cameras without any clear goal in mind.
Right now in Texas, legislators are considering whether to file legislation reinstating certain public information rights about government surveillance cameras, and curtailing the worst potential avenues for privacy abuses. This news should help that process along. One increasingly finds the security arguments for them less than compelling.
UPDATE: Say hello to Firebrand Freedom, a new Texas blog by Reza "Irish Dave" Piri, which takes on the topic of closed circuit surveillance cameras this week.