Gee, right from the UK playbook. Maybe someone should ask them just how much crime reduction those millions of Pounds bought the Brits?
Mayor outlines elaborate camera network for city
By Paul Meincke
September 9, 2004 (Chicago) — From a hi-tech command center, the City of Chicago plans to monitor a vast security network. Thousands of surveillance cameras will be linked -- and authorities will be alerted to crimes and terrorist acts. The mayor unveiled the plans for this new security network at a news conference this morning.
Some people are concerned about big brother invading their privacy but Mayor Daley says the cameras will be located in public areas.
The technology that is now so much a part of crime-fighting and anti-terrorism has gone -- as one police spokesman says -- from Stone Age to Star Wars in less than a decade. This step in the evolution will link more than two-thousand public surveillance cameras in Chicago into a unified system.
George Orwell might be restless that big brother grows bigger, but the city believes that more efficient response to emergency will help the public rest easier
There are, of course, thousands of them -- watching -- it seems -- everywhere. The city's plan is to route the live images provided by those cameras on the public way into a unified network piped into the 911 center.
"That includes every city department. That includes the Chicago public schools, the CTA, city colleges. That includes the park district, any other sister agencies that have cameras out there," said Mayor Daley.
There are well over two-thousand cameras that the city and its sister agencies -- like the school system -- monitor everyday. The city is adding another 250 cameras to potential high risk areas -- most of them downtown.
For instance, if there is a crime on a CTA platform - most of which are- or will be equipped with surveillance cameras. A call to 911 will activate a video link-up as well.
"When the system determines there's a camera in the vicinity of the 911 call, it will automatically beam back an image to the call-taker of the origin of where it occurred," said Ron Huberman, Emergency Mgt. and Com. Dir.
The 911 dispatcher will have -- in many cases -- the ability to remotely control cameras at the scene of a crime miles away. The system is also equipped with software that can alert the 911 center to changes in traffic flow, or the presence of people where they're not supposed to be.
"If this is a water filtration plant or a field in O'Hare where no one should be walking, it will issue an alert that someone is walking," said Huberman.
All those images will be monitored in this room which is now being built as the 911 Operations Center.
In 18-months it will look more like the bridge of the starship Enterprise with a wall of 200 constantly changing images. How the software is tweaked will determine which pictures pop up, which the city says will greatly enhance emergency response.
The mayor dismisses concerns about invasion of privacy since the cameras record what happens on the public way.
"You could photograph me walking down the street. They do it every day. I don't object. You do it every day. You have that right. Why do you have that right?" said Mayor Daley.
Critics say the cameras ought not be regarded as a panacea in crime fighting. They say the more there are, the greater the potential for abuse.
The cameras have also led in some Chicago neighborhoods to a marked reduction in crime. The new unified system is being financed by a $5 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security and is scheduled to be up and running in 18 months. It will also have the capacity to watch the marathons downtown, football games -- although they won't be watching the games, but they'll watch the fans at the games.
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Shameless bump since there's so much activity in GD today.
"If there is hope, it lies with the proles."
"I have finally won the battle with myself. I love Big Brother."