These cameras have started appearing in Chicago – Here’s what they mean

September 24, 2023 by No Comments

If you’ve recently been exploring Chicago, you might have come across one of these prominent cameras discreetly stationed in public spaces like parking lots. The photograph below was captured in the Greektown Walgreens parking lot, and it’s not the first of its kind to appear in the city.

Curiously, this camera was reported to be accompanied by a flashing blue light atop a mast, resembling a massive solar panel. This may look like it’s from science fiction. However, there’s a more straightforward explanation: these cameras are strategically placed in various locations to document activities. In essence, they represent a relatively modern initiative primarily employed as a deterrent against criminal activities.


These cameras are not exclusive to Chicago and have been cropping up across the United States recently. Contrary to assumptions, they are not funded by law enforcement agencies; rather, they are typically deployed by private entities like shopping centers and construction sites to deter criminal incidents. That being said, some police departments have used these cameras for license plate checks, although it is understood that the Chicago Police Department does not employ this technology.

While some individuals understandably harbor skepticism regarding their effectiveness, statistics indicate that outdoor cameras can reduce crime by as much as 13%. Consequently, their deployment continues despite their somewhat intrusive appearance. On a concluding note, this raises a separate debate on whether these cameras represent a necessary measure for public safety or if they are another instance of surveillance society encroaching excessively on the basic privacy of ordinary individuals.


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