Chicago will augment camera surveillance of high-crime areas with a new listening device that can detect the sound of gunfire and lead to quick dispatch of police to the location, says the Chicago Tribune. Mayor Richard Daley declared the test installation of 30 surveillance cameras a success and said 50 more devices are on the way.
Technology being added to the cameras will alert police immediately to gunfire and allow simultaneous transmission of video images to the 911 emergency communications center and police headquarters. The upgrades will bring the cost of the Operation Disruption surveillance effort to about $3.5 million, all of it funded by money seized from drug dealers. “This means, in essence, that the dope dealers are paying for the police to watch them and disrupt their activity,” said police First Deputy Supt. Dana Starks.
In the seven months since 30 cameras were installed on light poles, calls to police relating to narcotics from the immediate areas have declined by 76 percent, and serious crimes have dropped by 17 percent. Arrests on the police beats covered by cameras rose by 60 percent.
Video images from the bulletproof boxes containing the cameras have gone only to laptop computers in nearby squad cars. More eyes now will view them at the 911 center and police headquarters with the addition of microwave transmitters. The transmitters could be knocked out by bullets, but Assistant Deputy Supt. Ron Huberman said it would take “a great lack of intelligence to want to shoot at these things” because of the gunshot-detection sensors that will be added inside the steel boxes.