Big Brother Comes To Navy Pier

200 security cameras introduced to secure the Pier

Chicago is getting a new layer of security on the lakefront, designed to protect its citizens and the millions of visitors to the city each year.

In an effort to decrease crime and protect millions of tourists and guests, Mayor Daley on Wednesday revealed that 200 new security cameras will soon be lining the city’s top visited tourist attraction - Navy Pier.

In collaboration with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the city is launching the line of IBM-designed cameras, each equipped with high-resolution and far- and wide-range viewing capabilities meant to enhance security at the Pier.

We consider this to be one of the finest security command centers of its kind,” said Juan Ochoa, MPEA Chief Executive Officer. 

The first phase of the project integrates cameras, alarms, sensors, audio and analytics to protect the Pier’s visitors. The system will monitor the surrounding waterways and notify security personnel when unauthorized boats approach restricted areas.

There are also emergency call buttons situated around the Pier, and the system will assist first responders in locating problem areas more quickly.

Feeding into the police marine unit, a nearby police station and U.S. Coast Guard center, these security cameras have already led to an arrest of at least one pickpocket and another person who was damaging a closed store that on the Pier.

The project is a result of a "Port Security Grant" from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. A portion of the $7.5 million grant, $4.2 million, will go toward the effort to protect Navy Pier, according to Ochoa. 

Those close to the project consider it to be "the world's first intelligent networked video system for public safety."

Upon completion of the installation, Chicago's Navy Pier will have, perhaps, the safest lakefront in the world.

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