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Privacy Technology

Chicago Links School Cameras To Police 156

Farakin brings us a story about how cameras in roughly 200 Chicago schools are being connected to police headquarters and the city's 911 emergency center. The goal of the effort is to "consolidate video surveillance," and it will involve both routine monitoring and real-time updates to officers on their way to a crisis. According the the Chicago Tribune, "The mayor acknowledged the cameras provide only limited security, citing a spate of shootings in recent days that have claimed young victims during after-school hours." The story also contains a video in which Mayor Daley indicated that he expects the cameras to serve as a deterrent now that people know they're under the eye of the police.
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Chicago Links School Cameras To Police

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  • by KublaiKhan ( 522918 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:42PM (#22682068) Homepage Journal
    There's been some funny modding lately. I think there's some grumpy people with no sense of humour hanging around.

    And yes, I dare say that some clever kids will have the fields of view of all the cameras mapped out within the week. Or someone will bring in a paintball gun. Or any other of the various and sundry methods capable of disarming cameras.

    Either that, or they'll grab their nightvision goggles, their vests with the cellphone rig on the back, the fatigues, and just wait around for Jack Thompson to show up to blame the video game...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:47PM (#22682128)

    There should be a clause advocating the removal of the cameras if the situation has improved for a long duration of time (say 2 years?).

    But the removal of the cameras will make crime return! (sadly that'll make more sense on the news)

    Crime doesn't go away with cameras, it just moves to a location where it can't be seen by them (if the perpetrators even bother). Down here we've had several cities experiment with surveillance cameras in busy areas (shopping districts, market places). A study concluded that the crime hotspots had moved to locations near the shopping districts (eg people going to and from location) where there were no cameras.

    Crimerates had gone down in those cities, but not significantly enough to say that the cameras and the cost of all the infrastructure and personnel were warranted. Taking into account that the crimerates at the time had dropped on a national level, due to a better economy (higher employment, etc, etc balh blah blah) the study concluded that it was most likely that the cameras had zero effect.

    The study was briefly mentioned in parliament, but swept aside for more important matters such as the next years budget of which they had to pay cameras and personnel, which of course sounded like a sound investment considering how the crimerates had somewhat dropped. (I sometimes cringe at the thought of how politicians minds work) I personally feel that my country isn't turning into a police state just yet as the cameras are actually placed in areas that used to have high crime rates and there is a very large amount of privacy laws preventing them from invading your personal space, however I seriously doubt their effectiveness at eliminating crime as opposed to their effectiveness in moving it to other places.

  • by John3 ( 85454 ) <john3@@@cornells...com> on Friday March 07, 2008 @06:50PM (#22682176) Homepage Journal
    The school district added cameras and DVR's a few years ago and recently added the ability for the police to tap into the system in the case of a 911 call or triggered burglar alarm. From what the school district said at meetings, it sounds like the police cannot legally tap into the signal at will, only when there is an emergency call initiated. That doesn't mean the police won't peek (we have some questionable police officers in town) but I think they have better things to do with their time.

    Getting beyond the school shootings scenario, the biggest problem at schools in our area is vandalism. Students sneak into the building, trash classrooms, equipment, the athletic field, etc. Now the DVR will record them, and if the alarm is triggered the police view the video feed to learn where they are in the school, how many there are, and if they are armed.
  • Only 200 cameras? (Score:3, Informative)

    by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Friday March 07, 2008 @07:21PM (#22682500)
    In the UK we call that small a number of cameras "freedom".

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.