April 07, 2004
Chicago Police Expand Camera Surveillance, Add Gunshot Detectors

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.

The gunshot detectors will be accurate within 20 feet.

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.

Back in Chicago people in neighborhoods with surveillance video cameras are happy about the perceived increase in safety that the cameras provide.

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.

The Chicago cameras and gunshot detectors are paid for by seized drug money.

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

Denise said at May 5, 2005 9:42 AM:

How can I get these camras installed in my neighborhood? The crime violence is getting higher and higher. I may only be 15 years old but i know that whats goingon in my neighborhood is bad and it needs to stop. Plus I have a 11 year old brother and I know that withthese camras around he will be safe.

mike riojas said at February 26, 2006 7:50 AM:

i have a cab co. need camras for protection

jazzmyne said at March 18, 2009 8:56 AM:

why would you want these camera put up in your neighborhood....america is in debt....we have no money for this....who do you think is going to pay for this...THE TAX PAYERS....if you want a safe neighborhood set up a neighborhood watch.....crime is on the rise even with all these cameras...29 cps students killed this year...since the new millennium the murders of kids the ages of 14 to 17 has went up 39%...what are these cameras really for

shelia said at May 12, 2009 3:57 AM:

These cameras are much needed everywhere!! what does anyone have to hide? if you are hiding something then I want YOU on camera! The comment regarding Neighborhood watch Groups is good justure howe ver, more people are murdered for Neighbohood watch activities then you think,just because of the persistency to sell drugs. These cameras are very much welcomed by many and are funded from drug "bust" money not tax payers dollars.

streets said at November 1, 2010 7:17 PM:

how can i get a camera installed on my block?

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