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A Surveillance Camera On Every Chicago Street Corner? 311

Mike writes "Chicago Mayor Daley has stated that if his Olympic dreams come true, by 2016 there will be a surveillance camera on 'every street corner in Chicago.' Just like in London, elected officials all over America appear to be happily advancing a 'surveillance society' without regard for civil rights or privacy concerns. Ray Orozco, executive director of Chicago's Office of Emergency Management and Communications is quoted as saying, 'We're going to grow the system until we eventually cover one end of the city to the other.'" Chicago has been developing its surveillance network for some time, but it seems they plan to continue increasing the scale.
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A Surveillance Camera On Every Chicago Street Corner?

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  • by thermian ( 1267986 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @09:57AM (#26940401)

    London has the highest density of CCTV cameras of any city in the world, and it's ridiculous overkill. Technically they may not be on EVERY street, but damn near close.

    But more importantly, it's been shown as completely ineffective. Chicago is going to make the same mistake. Security theater..

    It hasn't managed to stop a single crime in London either.

    I live in a UK town so small that the total population is less than a minor London borough, and we have camera's throughout the town centre, and along all major roads into and out of the town.

    Most aren't watched, and the police have had zero luck using them to catch criminals, even when they rob several shops in a row at night.

    Muggings? Hasn't stopped one.

    There was a murder along one of these monitored streets, and the culprit has never been caught. All we got was wooden placards from the police asking if anyone had seen something.

    The take home from this is that in the UK, cameras are put up to 'fit the mood' of the political times, but few councils have the money, or the will, to employ them on a day to day basis.

    The government, in typical UK style, decreed that cameras would make use safer, but declined to provide sufficient funding. Any council that did nothing would have been deemed to be putting its people at risk, but if cameras were put up, but mostly unused, the blame could be placed on the governemtn again, for failing to provide the funding.

    Its a farce. The loss to our freedom? negligable, barely noticable, if it exists at all. The loss to our pocket through wasted taxes? Millions, and thats far worse.

  • by korbin_dallas ( 783372 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:10AM (#26940453) Journal

    So like this never happens huh?
    Doesn't look like incarceration gonna work either. []

  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:21AM (#26940499) Journal
    Thanks, reading all about a Chicago police torture ring now. []
  • by MrNaz ( 730548 ) * on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:31AM (#26940559) Homepage

    Crime is not crime as reported by police, it's crime as reported by citizens. This is not a "tree falling in the woods" scenario.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:38AM (#26940611)

    I've lived in London, the most camera carpeted place in the world, even more camera covered than anywhere in the old Soviet bloc.

    They don't stop terrorism: the terrorists look just like the rest of London's multi-ethnic society. They don't stop muggers, because the muggers wear hoods and know where the cameras are, and the police *cannot be bothered* to investigate anything less than a huge crime, because they're swamped with standing useless guard duty and filling out paperwork. They don't stop drunken yobs, they don't stop shoplifting because they're limited and the police never can be bothered to pull the records or show them to the people who've been robbed.

    No, they're useful for political monitoring. Getting pictures of protesters for monitoring. Hey, look kids in T-shirts insulting Gordon Brown near his speech? Send a squad over to disperse them. You're meeting with people from Greenpeace near the nuclear sub launching? Oh, my, we can't have that! Better check their Oyster card (subway pass) records and see where they live.

    1984 was writting by a British man for very, very good reasons.

  • by nogginthenog ( 582552 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @10:56AM (#26940731)
    Every street corner? Nowhere near. Maybe in the City of London (the 1 square mile financial centre) but not the suburbs. The majority of CCTV cameras in London are privately owned.
  • by Thumper_SVX ( 239525 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @12:07PM (#26941183) Homepage

    LOL... that's awesome. If his Olympic dreams come true...? Let's get real here shall we? Whether or not those Olympic dreams come true, Mayor Daley will implement the cameras anyway. That level of control is something he's always craved. It's only a matter of time before this surveillance is extended to microphones (at least) in every living room.

    Sorry, I frequented Chicago as a tourist for years until Daley killed Meigs airport... then we saw the reality of the control freak he is. The only time I've been there since has been on business... I'll take my tourism dollars somewhere slightly less corrupt. Like Mexico... ;)

    Daley is the epitome of the corrupt politician, just like his father was. He's one of the primary reasons I never moved to Chicago.

  • by Thumper_SVX ( 239525 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @12:48PM (#26941493) Homepage

    Oh I'm not arguing that Meigs was a toy of the rich. I have a pilots license, but just mostly I did it to say I have it... I can't afford to own a plane any more than most technology people :D

    I just used Meigs as the most public and most easily "google-able" story showing just how much of an ignorant control freak he actually is. There are a number of stories about how these actions were (at the time) detrimental to the people of Chicago, visitors to Chicago and possibly the economy of Chicago.

    For those who don't want to Google it, Daley ordered the destruction of an active runway (over 100 flight ops a day on average at the time) at Meigs field, while aircraft sat at the airport with no consideration of getting those aircraft out, or consideration that people may be en-route to the airport at the time and may not have been able to see the huge holes in the ground or the heavy machinery sitting in the middle of the runway. I still think he's quite fortunate no-one was killed or injured because a pilot with "get-there-itis" might land at Meigs without runway lights because he/she had done it a million times before.

    The airport was closed without public knowledge, and opinion was sharply against him doing it. He had attempted to close the airport a number of times, and only by resorting to illegal, potentially dangerous actions did he finally succeed.

    I'm not saying Meigs was exactly a treasure of Chicago either. The few times I visited I found the surrounding area to be rather trashed and destroyed... I am merely using this as an example of how disconnected Daley is from reality, and why he'll continue to grind Chicago into the ground in his endless quest for more power and control. It's a shame because I LIKE Chicago... or at least I used to.

    There are many other examples of the corruption that Daley has wrought upon Chicago... Meigs was just one but there are plenty of other examples of how he's flaunting the law in order to advance only himself and his own agenda. He doesn't consider the people of Chicago at all, only his own advancement. The reason I use it as an example is because it opened my eyes enough that I began to research what Daley has done... and it was in researching those things that I found even more distasteful (though not as huge and visible) actions. Those are the things that turned me off Chicago, not Meigs.

    Sorry... should have been clearer :)

  • by onceuponatime ( 821046 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @02:13PM (#26942143)

    I was hit by an uninsured driver that did an illegal U turn in front of my motorcycle in South London. After flying over the vehicle the driver took off around the corner and disappeared. The police were called immediately. There was a camera looking right at the place of the accident. The police could have followed where the driver went to, they didn't. Not that that was important anyway as before the driver got around the corner, I got the license plate number and called it in.

    Some 4 weeks later I received a letter from the criminal investigation unit saying that they had written the address concerned and received a letter back stating that the person concerned didn't live there any more and so they were going to drop the case. I called the person from the criminal investigation unit and asked if they sent someone around to the place where the vechicle was registered. She said they didn't and said that they "never would" for a hit and run investigation unless someone was seriously injured. Then she repeated:

    "And I mean seriously injured..."

    So the cameras were not even consulted. But more to the point, the police wouldn't even investigate if they did, however I have been sent many a ticket in the post for trivial offences (Riding in a bus lane, after a radio advertising campaign started to encourage this for motorcycles).

    On another occasion whilst travelling on the eurostar I accidentally left a camera bag will cameras and lens at the security scanners. I realised this within 20 minutes and from the train called and confirmed that they had it and were holding it for me. When I got the bag back a 300 pound lens was missing. I reported this to the railways police and was called back by a friendly railways police man confirming that he was investigating and would review the tapes. I described very carefully what I was wearing and I was easily identifyable as I had a motorcycle topbox with me. I thought maybe he would have difficulty identifying the lens so I described it carefully. I provided a time frame within a 10 minute period of when I passed through the security scanner. I was stunned that he closed the case saying that he could not identify me on the cameras, forget about the lens!

    People who believe these cameras will help them out and reduce crime are deluding themselves, however they can be fairly sure they will be sent tickets for minor traffic offences (Not major ones) based on these cameras. Hey, I guess that's the crime they meant when they said that these cameras would help combat crime.

    Frankly I'm perhaps glad that they don't follow up on all crime they see on these cameras or everyone would be receiving multiple tickets a week for trival crime and society would be horrible to live in, but it does make a complete mockery of the excuse for why they are there. It's the camera equivalent of weapons of mass destruction.

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday February 21, 2009 @03:55PM (#26942941) Homepage Journal

    Nobody should be worried about cameras on every corner unless they are a criminal worried about being caught in the act.

    De Menezes, an electrician who had been in the country for three years, lived in a building that was under surveillance because it was believed to house a suspect wanted in connection with the unsuccessful bombings of July 21.
    When de Menezes left his apartment, he was believed to be that man and subsequently tracked to the station. He rushed to board a waiting train car, where two officers pinned him to the floor and shot him seven times in the head [] and once in the shoulder.

  • by flintIII ( 191309 ) on Sunday February 22, 2009 @11:42AM (#26948717) Homepage


    Open Systems in Technology are not limited to computer systems. Public money spent on public surveillance is just like any other public expenditure, subject to the inspection of those that purchased it.

    If a mother want to know that her son is at the playground he said he was going to, why can't she tune in to the camera over the web and see it?

    Several years ago the Barre Open Systems Institute ( here in Vermont presented this paper ( to the Barre city fathers. This policy draft may help shape policy in Chicago, and is released under GPL V1.



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