Chicago Proposes Rebate Program to Encourage Residents to Purchase Surveillance Cameras

In a time where the Chicago Police Department cannot add more officers, having access to more surveillance cameras would be a “huge deterrent” for crime.

CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department would ideally like to hire more police officers to combat its never-ending cycle of gang violence. But until the department has the funds to make those hires, it is shifting its focus to surveillance cameras to deter crime.

But instead of using funds to purchase their own cameras, Ald. Ray Lopez wants to use that money to incentivize homeowners to install their own surveillance cameras that police can access in the event of a crime in the area. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the city would offer homeowners a $200 rebate for purchasing an exterior camera.

Here’s an excerpt from the report:

But at a time when the $30 billion pension crisis precludes more police hiring, Lopez argued that cameras are the next best thing. He called it a force multiplier with the potential to become a “huge deterrent.”

This week alone, we’ve had a sexual assault in Brighton Park, a shooting across the street from a school in Back of the Yards, and illegal drug sales and the gutting of abandoned buildings for scrap metal in West Englewood. It’s bad. A lot of the mid- and low-level crimes are on a daily basis,” Lopez said.

“To have residents call 911 and have OEMC immediately access local private cameras to try to catch a criminal will have a huge impact. They’ll be able to see in real time who is committing the offense. It’s going to help us increase arrests and convictions,” he said. “Criminals will become aware in certain areas that cameras are connected with police. That alone will be a huge deterrent. Police presence is a huge deterrent. This follows along that same logic. While we’re waiting for ways to pay for more police officers, this tool will allow us to increase our coverage in the neighborhood.”

Police Supt. Eddie Johnson called added surveillance a “positive thing” and said he’s all for the rebate program.

Washington, D.C. has a similar program which offers residents up to $500 and businesses up to $750 in rebates for purchasing surveillance cameras and registering them with the District.

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