Wait....Cameras DON'T Work?
Chicago’s blue-light cameras have become a fixture in high-crime neighborhoods since they were first installed in 2001, but do they really deter crime and help prosecutors convict criminals?
A study being released Monday gives the surveillance cameras a mixed review, saying they appear to have prevented crime in one neighborhood but not in another — and that the video quality is usually poor and rarely leads to a conviction on its own.
The Urban Institute focused on Chicago Police Department cameras in sections of Humboldt Park and West Garfield Park. Crime there was compared with crime in similar areas without the cameras.
The study found crime decreased more than 12 percent — or 38 fewer crimes per month — in the Humboldt Park study area from 2001 to 2006. The researchers found crime didn’t appear to migrate from the study area into the surrounding neighborhood.
Over the same period, though, crime didn’t fall at all in the West Garfield Park area.
Nah, it has to be the cameras.
And how about this glorious bullshit?
- Still, researchers said the cameras were worth their cost. The city spent $6.8 million to install and operate them. But for every dollar spent, the societal benefit was $4, according to the Washington-based Urban Institute, whose study also looked at cameras in Washington and Baltimore.
And here's an interesting tidbit:
- Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, said footage from the surveillance cameras is regularly reviewed in criminal investigations. “When it comes to blue light cams, they almost never capture the crimes that we review,” Daly said. “No one I spoke to here can recall a case where we utilized these cameras to gain a conviction.”