City to install more cameras

One hundred new surveillance cameras and 100 new patrol officers will be added to the city's crime-fighting effort, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley said at a press conference in the 12th ward today.

The cameras, like 470 others already in place around the city, will be positioned in high crime areas, though a police spokeswoman said no date has been set.

Daley acknowledged that the cameras raise privacy concerns, but said they had helped reduce gang violence and drug dealing.

"People who deal with [violence] every day see the benefits," said Daley. "It's the next best thing to having police on the streets."

The cameras will supplement the work of the additional patrol officers, 50 of whom will be new hires and 50 who will be transferred from desk assignments.

Interim police Superintendent Dana Starks said the cameras in use throughout the city have produced images used in 1,458 arrests and recently led to the arrests of two men charged with the murder of 14-year-old Roberto Duran in west Chicago in June. 

The officials also brought out a Finkel High School parent volunteer to speak in favor of the cameras.

"The cameras help keep gangsters and drug dealers away from the school," Michelle Aguilar told reporters.

The new cameras will resemble street lights and will not be as noticeable as the existing ones, Starks said.

The cameras, which have not yet been purchased, will cost between $1,200 and $3,600, depending on such features as wireless technology, police spokeswoman Monique Bond said.