Blue-Light Cameras Have Upside, Downside: Study

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Blue-light cameras watching over Chicago may not scare off or help convict all criminals. 
    A new Urban Institute study found the Chicago police surveillance cameras have a different impact in certain neighborhoods.

    Researchers compared Humboldt Park and West Garfield Park to communities without cameras, the Sun-Times reports, and found crime fell 12 percent in Humboldt Park compared to no decline in West Garfield Park. Researchers speculated the additional cameras in Humboldt Park played a role. 

    “The difference in camera saturation could have an impact on the degree to which cameras are able to catch crimes in progress and thus officers to intervene, make arrests and deter other potential offenders,” according to the study from the Washington-based group.
    After an arrest, the cameras' poor quality video fails to give prosecutors the edge they want.
     
    Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, told the publicaiton the cameras "almost never" capture photos of the crimes prosecutors review. Daly said no one she spoke with can recall a case in which the cameras were used to convict a criminal.  
    However,  the cameras do help prove or disapprove a suspect or witness’ account of a crime, said Daly.