ACLU: Chicago has 'frightening number' of surveillance cameras

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Surveillance video may lead police to Lt. Joe Gliniewicz' killers. But the images that could crack the case come as the national debate over privacy rights and surveillance cameras heats up.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the city of Chicago has a "frightening number" of surveillance cameras. Hundreds have been added under Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In Spokane, Washington, a surveillance camera captures dramatic video of an attempted kidnapping. 

In Ferguson, Missouri, a teen loses his life after video shows him holding a gun during a protest. Police killed him.

And in Chicago, two men steal a van full of pets while a security camera was rolling nearby.

"We are a city under surveillance, between the CTA trains and busses, the police blue light cameras and the Chicago Housing Authority, there are more than 22-thousand security cameras focused on you, in the city," said Pro Video Security President Perry Myers.

"You can zoom in 6 or more times, like I said, more than you formerly could," he added.

Myers said that as the price of home surveillance systems goes down, the popularity among homeowners to invest in them is skyrocketing up.

And the technology in some cases is better than any eye witness account.

"Now you can actually zoom in, you can read names on shirts, you can get license plates, you can identify scars," Myers said.

Chicago has the third largest security camera network in the world, just behind the cities of Beijing and London.

With the technology, Chicago 911 dispatchers can receive video from exactly where a call is made.

"Lot of people are getting the dashcams, so they're putting the cameras in their cars," Myers said. "You can go up and down this block, most people on our block have cameras."

Despite cameras rolling on nearly every street corner, the ACLU contends that security cameras in troubled neighborhoods have not decreased the number of violent crimes.

And according to the Transportation Programs Director at Northwestern University, traffic cameras have not decreased the number of traffic accidents either.

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