Chicago will become a world leader in Big Brother technology when the city links 2,250 surveillance cameras to its 911 center to spot “suspicious and unusual” behavior, reports the city’s Sun-Times. “Cameras are the equivalent of hundreds of sets of eyes,” Mayor Daley said of the system, which is expected to be in use in early 2006. “They’re the next best thing to having police officers stationed at every potential trouble spot.”
With help from a $5.1 million federal Homeland Security grant, Chicago will install 250 cameras at locations at high risk of a terrorist attack, link them and 2,000 existing cameras to the 911 center and expand the network with an unprecedented invitation to the private sector, Daley announced Thursday. Businesses that pay an undisclosed fee for the privilege can have cameras installed outside their entrances and even inside their stairwells monitored by the 911 center. When a 911 call comes in, the network will automatically search for the nearest camera. A video image will pop up at the call-taker’s work station. The call-taker can control the image and direct police and firefighters at the scene. Daley said he believes Chicagoans “will love” the idea.