Police add dozens of cameras throughout Near North Side

(Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - City officials Tuesday announced an expansion of Chicago’s police camera network on the Near North Side.

Thirty-two new high-definition Police Observation Devices, or “POD” cameras, will be visible in CTA Red Line stations and outdoors throughout the Near North police district, according to statements from the mayor’s office and Chicago police.

The mayor’s office said the cameras are used to monitor “areas known for drug sales, violent crime and shootings” and that they “have proven to help deter potential criminal activity.”

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said most of the cameras had already been installed by Tuesday morning and the rest of the installations were “nearing completion.”

The Near North district includes the Grand, Chicago, Clark/Division, North/Clybourn and Fullerton Red Line stations. It also includes Water Tower Place, which recently implemented at “parental guidance required” policy intended to “eliminate disruptive behavior” by groups of teenagers, according to mall officials.

Five people have been charged in connection with a mob attack Dec. 19 at the Chicago Red Line station, during which a dozen or so assailants repeatedly punched three people who were waiting for a train.

Guglielmi said the camera expansion was not a response to that specific incident, but is part of an ongoing project by the CTA, police and the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications to replace older cameras with new, high-definition equipment.