A year after the Roscoe Village Neighbors Association launched a privately funded system of surveillance cameras, the group says that footage from the system has captured more than a dozen crimes, and they’re looking to expand the service’s reach.
The $40,000 camera system, installed in 2018 and dubbed “Neighborhood on Watch,” has captured everything from package thefts to DUI’s to arson.
“We feel we’ve been able to support our local law enforcement when they’ve needed it,” RVNA VP Jason Elster said. “We’ve been able to provide a level of comfort for residents.”
A total of 17 cameras have been installed since last year when the program was launched. The program is still run by neighborhood volunteers, and is comprised primarily of Roscoe Village businesses.
Elster said that more than a dozen crimes have been captured on the cameras. Businesses in the village can opt into the program via a cloud network, and footage is only provided to the Chicago Police Department if a police report is generated.
Phase two of the project will focus on incentives to encourage residents to join the network.
“We’ve strictly limited our system to public spaces,” Elster said. “We don’t accept any feed from interiors of homes or businsses.”
Now that the program has been a success with involving area businesses, the RVNA is aiming to try to get residents on board, but the cameras can be a bit pricey. Neighbors interested in participating will have to purchase a bridge to connect to the cloud, but RVNA hopes to offer incentives to offset the cost, which can easily run more than $1,000.
The group’s next goal is to bump the total number of cameras on the system up to 25, and most of the funding to do is obtained through community events. The group says that the immediate investment of the funds is proof that the program is working.
“This is clearly evidence of where the money goes,” RVNA President Nina Buik said. “We take this money and we put it right back into the community.”