Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chicago Sold on Video Security

As Mayor Richard Daley pushes to increase video surveillance in public places across the city, a Tribune/WGN-TV poll has found that the city's security cameras have overwhelming support among Chicago residents.A newer proposal that would require cameras in thousands of businesses has far less backing but still enjoys support from most poll participants.

The city's surveillance network includes more than 2,000 cameras in such sites as transit stations, streets and public housing complexes. Included are about 100 police devices, featuring flashing blue lights, on utility poles in high-crime areas.Critics have voiced concern about the growing number of electronic eyes, but Daley has made it clear he wants even more. And he contends that Chicagoans want them too, something the Tribune/WGN survey seems to support.

The poll of 700 voters, conducted Feb 10-13 by Market Shares Corp. of Mt. Prospect, found that eight out of 10 respondents favor the video security network.The support cuts across racial and ethnic lines, with 80 percent of white respondents, 77 percent of African-Americans and 83 percent of Hispanics saying they like the cameras.The poll has a 4 percentage point margin of error.Gwen Rivera, a poll participant and Northwest Side resident, recalls the video images of a young girl being abducted by a man in an out-of-state case that made national news. (MORE)