Chicago Public Schools officials want to install high-definition security cameras at 14 high schools during 2012.
The cameras, an upgrade to the current system introduced in 1999, would cost the beleaguered schools system $7 million during the 2012 fiscal year, but CPS chief Jean-Claude Brizard says it's worth it.
“Despite the tough economic times facing our district, we’re taking additional steps to reduce crime and create school environments that are safe for students and staff," Brizard said in a statement.
As part of the proposed plan, between 50 and 80 cameras would be installed at 14 high schools with cases of severe misconduct and a number of arrests and crimes on school property, according to CPS. The schools on the list are: Clemente, Hyde Park, Sullivan, Morgan Park, Orr, Marshall, Dunbar, Tilden, Bogan, Wells, Senn, Juarez, Julian and Farragut.
"There is a commitment from this administration towards the security of our students," said Mike Shields, CPS Director of Safety and Security, "and this is just one piece of that puzzle that students are able to get back and forth to school [and] be safe inside the school."
The camera system was tested at Fenger High School, the school Derrion Alberts attended when he was beaten to death on his way home in 2009. Since the cameras were installed there, the number of misconduct cases dropped by 59 percent from the 2010 to 2011 school year, according to CPS.
The system also has been installed at Solorio and South Shore High Schools.
About 7,000-plus analogue cameras make up the current video security system in 268 schools. The new cameras would port images to the nearest police station and to CPS Safety and OEMC if necessary. They also would produce quality images on a user-friendly camera platform.