Chicago's blue light cameras are easy to spot, both to observers and criminals alike.
The idea to post cameras in crime plagued neighborhoods is a good one, but their conspicuousness is a problem, so Police Superintendent Jody Weis is proposing to add new “covert” cameras so small they fit inside a matchbox, the Sun-Times reports.
“These can be secreted in locations that nobody would ever detect. It’s amazing where we’re going with technology,” said Weis during a taping of the WLS-AM radio program “Connected to Chicago.”
The technology he’s talking about is similar to surveillance cameras used to catch corrupt politicians.
“You use the covert cameras to perhaps push them into an area where you have coverage. If we can interrupt their intelligence cycle, we will have the upperhand,” he said.
The big question: how can a department that's understaffed by 2,000 officers afford new, high-tech cameras?
One way said Weis is to swap out some of the blue-light cameras for the covert kind. He estimates only needing a total of 50.
And, because they’re so small the cameras are easy to move around to areas where crime is spiking.
“We put some here … We run the operation," he said. "We arrest a lot of bad guys..and we move ‘em somewhere else. It’s kind of like mobile pods.”
But not everyone is keen on the new technology, especially not the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.
He said there is no evidence that surveillance cameras trigger a reduction in crime, he also fears that "rogue" cops will abuse the power the camera's provide.