25 April 2008

Chicago Unveils Fancy New Surveillance Cameras

"MAYOR FOR LIFE," Chicago's Richard M. Daley is planning to install new "eyes in the sky" across Chicago in the next year and assign 100 more Chicago Police Department officers to street duty--two initiatives that will be included in his 2008 budget proposal.

The soon to be purchased surveillance cameras will supplement the already existing 560 police cameras in Chicago with 250 contrastingly more discreet looking cameras installed in residential neighborhoods. Daley also plans to network them with the over 2,200 closed circuit cameras used by private businesses, the city's transit lines, public housing buildings, and schools so they to can be monitored by emergency operators.

The high-definition, motorized cameras can rotate 360 degrees and include night-vision capability and have the ability to detect loud noises, like gunshots or a person falling to the pavement.

Daley dismissed privacy concerns, saying that the only places where the city installs cameras are public spaces. Neither the courts nor the American Civil Liberties Union have objected to cameras in public places, saying there is no expectation of privacy on a city street.

Daley has expressed hopes to have a surveillance camera on every corner in the city by 2016. Chicago is the first U.S. city to install such a huge network of video surveillance, even though studies have repeatedly shown that cameras do not prevent crime.


Heather Schmidt said...

I'm glad you mentioned that fact that there is no study that shows that such cameras deter violent crime. If anything, it creates a sense of palpable tension in neighborhoods were cameras are present and an "us vs. them" attitude towards the police. It's human nature to expect that tension to explode, and it seems like it already is. The numbers of murders and violent crime since the beginning of the year in Chicago is outstanding, but Daley is an expert at ignoring anything that would give him and his city bad PR.

Why not put the money spent on these big brother cameras toward a city-wide recycling program that actually works? It would have a long-term POSITIVE impact on not just the city, but the world.

J-RE said...

Clear and transparent government, hard at work.

And to what end? The moment you leave the house your comings and goings are documented and recorded to a T.

How about a camera in Daley's living room? Hell, how about a camera in his office? He's not doing anything wrong, right? So what could he be afraid of?