Chicago police are more than doubling the number of video cameras watching city streets with the total going from 30 to 50. At the same time the police are adding gunshot detectors to the cameras for pinpointing the locations of guns that fire.
Saying they are improving something that works, Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago police officials Tuesday announced expansion of Operation Disruption, in which camera units are placed in areas to reduce violent crime and drug activity.
Fifty camera units to be equipped with gunshot-detection technology will be added to the 30 units installed in areas prone to gang violence and narcotics sales, Daley said at a news conference at police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave.
Existing pods will be retrofitted with the same technology as the new ones, and will able to pinpoint gunshots within 20 feet and transmit the data via a microwave network to two police surveillance centers, officials said.
Expect many more types of detectors to be developed and deployed for public safety and law enforcement functions. How much longer will it be before there are detectors that can pinpoint a scream, a cry for help, or the sound of cars colliding? It is possible to conceive of image processing algorithms that can detect a person collapsing on the ground or a person being chased by another person.
Nellie Joyce Carter lives in the 800-block of North Harding, which has had a camera for seven months. She says the neighborhood’s safer since the very visible deterrent was put into place. She parents were afraid to let their children play outside before. Now she says the camera keeps watch over the kids and a local park.
Like the initial $750,000 camera experiment, the $2.8 million expansion and upgrade is being paid for with drug forfeiture money. Drug dealers are literally paying for police to breathe down their necks.
If there were enough dirty money to go around, Mayor Daley said he would love to see cameras installed on every street corner in Chicago.
Coincidentally the US Army and Marines happen to be deploying the "Boomerang" gunshot location detector system to Iraq.
Sensors atop an aluminum pole on the back of a Humvee pick up supersonic shock waves to give an approximate location of gunfire, and sound waves measured from the muzzle blast narrow it some more.
A cigarette box-sized display on the dashboard or windshield then shows the findings. "Incoming, 5 o'clock," says a speaker inside the box.
This military system is not an expensive system. BBN Technologies is making these detectors for $10,000 a piece and the price is expected to drop to $3,000. Electronic detection and surveillance systems will continue to decline in price while becoming more sophisticated and precise. Therefore sensors will become ever more ubiquitous and will be used to detect an increasing number of types of events and activities.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2004 April 07 11:57 PM Surveillance Cameras|