More police cameras could soon be installed in Chicago’s 43rd Ward, as Ald. Michele Smith is spearheading a fundraising drive for more of the devices in her ward that includes parts of Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, and Old Town.
“I think there is never too much surveillance that can be done,” said Eric Phillips. “I think to a degree 'Big Brother' is always watching, but if we’re able to implement some changes based on catching things in the act—I think that’s a great opportunity for us.”
Phillips is the owner of Dilly Lily in Lincoln Park. He feels safe in his neighborhood, but said there have been issues of crime, including vandalism, in recent months.
“I think more than anything its being able to use the surveillance to catch the crime,” he said. “It’s not worth of value if its not being used.”
To combat that issue, Smith sent out an email to residents last week announcing the ‘OEMC Camera Program.’ She said residents have expressed interest in donating to help pay for more police cameras, and the new program will allow them to do that.
The installations would cost about $25,000 and the location must be approved by police, according to officials.
“I’m in all support for more cameras and what Alderman Smith would like to do and I hope that it continues to spread throughout the city,” said Jeff Lawler, owner of Geja’s Café. “I understand there’s a lot of communities throughout Chicago that can not afford it. I don’t know what can be done on a larger scale but things should try to be done.”
Other residents don’t think police cameras should be paid for by donations.
“I think the city should be paying for this not going to the individual tax payers for donations,” one resident said. “Because it should be a city service to keep us safe and have the police force to protect us from all the insanity that’s going on in the city."