CCTV at metro stations can spot suicidal behaviours: Study

Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 15 : To prevent suicides at metro stations, a recent study suggests making use of real time CCTV footage in spotting people with suicidal behaviours.

The findings were published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. Suicides occur in all urban transit systems, where there are no physical barriers to block access to the tracks and although most attempters do not die, they often suffer serious injuries as a result.

"We conducted a two stage study to first, identify behaviours associated with attempted suicide and second, to test if these behaviours could be used to spot people, who go on to attempt suicide, with minimum false identification of people, who were not going to attempt," said lead study author Brian Mishara from the University of Quebec in Montreal, Canada.

"We found the presence of two or more behaviours indicating the suicide risk -- leaving objects on the platform, frequently looking down the tunnel, standing for long periods of time on the yellow line or continually walking on the yellow line, looking physically agitated, staring at the tracks or the tunnel for long periods of time and seeming depressed," Mishara added.

According to the researchers, 24 percent of attempters could have been spotted and possibly prevented by people looking for these behaviours on the CCTV footage.

In the first part of the study, the researchers were given access to multiple camera CCTV footage of 66 previous suicide attempts from a metro station in Montreal, Canada.

Fourteen attempts were randomly selected and used to draw up a list of associated behaviours, which were then validated and agreed by four independent observers, who then proceeded to analyse all the cases.

Several behaviours were obvious to spot but others, such as intoxication, physical agitation, anxiety and depression may have required interpretation by the observer.

In the second part of the study the researchers showed 33 independent observers single-camera footage, from 63 previous suicide attempts.

"The observers only spotted indicating behaviours from our list in 53 percent of the videos they viewed where actual suicide attempts took place," Mishara noted.

"Several of these behaviours have the potential to be detected automatically using computer technology.

So our study provides ground work for research to develop novel ways to prevent suicide attempts at metro stations," Mishara explained.

Source: ANI