One citizen's take on the Dick that makes Chicago tick.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009


photo by Johnye West

Have you ever noticed all the surveillance cameras in Chicago?
Mayor Daley loves him some surveillance cameras:
A highly advanced system of video surveillance that Chicago officials plan to install by 2006 will make people here some of the most closely observed in the world. Mayor Richard M. Daley says it will also make them much safer.

"Cameras are the equivalent of hundreds of sets of eyes," Mr. Daley said when he unveiled the new project this month. "They're the next best thing to having police officers stationed at every potential trouble spot."
I'm trying to be more aware of all the cameras when I'm walking around outside. They are everywhere. And it's even more creepy when you think that the city has the potential to link into the private cameras throughout the city. I don't know about you, but I don't like it.

And I'm not the only one who is concerned: On Chicago Streets, Cameras are Watching:
But others do worry. Chicago is the largest of a growing number of cities to use surveillance cameras to fight crime. Increasing concern for homeland security has helped tip the balance in favor of the new technologies. But critics see the trend as one more example of the way privacy rights are being sacrificed for the sake of security - a false security, some say - and one more step toward an Orwellian future where all activities are monitored by the government. They call it "surveillance creep."

Others wonder if Mayor Daley is installing surveillance cameras instead of hiring more police officers. Are Blue Light Cameras Replacing Beat Cops?
"Mayor Daley came up to me recently and said, 'Look, I like these crime cameras that you guys are doing in New Orleans. They're cheaper than hiring more police officers and we're gonna do them in a big way in Chicago,'" New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin said.


There are scattered success stories with these cameras, but each of them can cost as much as $35,000 to install, and more to maintain. That is still far less than an officer's salary and benefits, but there are many who wonder whether investing in technology rather than police officers on the beat is penny wise and pound foolish.
Chicago Magazine also has an interesting read on Chicago's surveillance cameras: Can Cameras Replace Cops?
So much surveillance raises serious privacy issues, of course, and every technological development seems to push society closer to the dreaded Big Brother universe. But from a strictly law enforcement perspective, the criticism of camera surveillance starts with an obvious but essential fact: A camera cannot make an arrest. Beyond that, how often does a camera prevent a crime? On some streets, criminals are confident that, even though they’re being recorded, their crimes will go unpunished. “In some parts of my ward the guys are so bold they’ll commit crimes right underneath the cameras,” says Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. (27th). “They know where the blind spots are.”


City officials won’t reveal the exact number of surveillance cameras in place in the city’s 234 square miles, claiming they don’t want to reveal blind spots in coverage. Nor is it easy to determine how much the city spends on surveillance. Much of the network has been paid for with federal money or tucked into various city department budgets. On a neighborhood level, for instance, aldermen can set up cameras with money from their ward budgets, and there doesn’t seem to be anyone specifically accounting for these local expenditures.
And then of course, the city will probably start using all these cameras to generate more revenue. One idea has already been floated: use red light camera to check for car insurance and - of course - fine drivers who are uninsured.

Or worse:


  1. We are becoming more a prime example of a communist country and this is just one good example.

    The government watching your every move and listening into your conversations....Tell me this doesn't reek of Soviet communism? It smells and people are buying it.

  2. Yea, I uhm feel saver that some sweaty, government douchebag can get my credit card number when I check into a Ramada Inn

  3. Security camera systems in Chicago are highly in demand to stop crimes and discourage related activities. Through which, you can surveillance your home & business and family anytime and from anywhere in an easy way.