Chicago police are launching a new “strategic decision support center” (SDSC) to watch for crime on CTA within the department’s 1st District, including parts of downtown, South Loop, and the Near South Side. This center has been operating for about a month, according to Police Supt. David Brown.
The Central District is the latest District to get an SDSC, which is now in place in 21 of the city’s 22 police districts.
The center will be a 24/7 operation. It will monitor using “smart policing technology, a network of surveillance cameras and real-time crime data,” to quicken police response times. CPD’s latest high-tech “nerve center,” is the newest expansion of the department’s efforts to use technology to reduce crime.
Officers within the center will have the capability to monitor over 4,000 surveillance cameras. CPD will also have access to the CTA’s entire network of 32,000 surveillance cameras, allowing police to monitor CTA train and bus platforms, turnstiles, tunnels, and pay stations in real-time.
It appears the purpose of the new center is to allow officers to not only catch crimes unfolding, but also officers can then follow criminals who use the CTA for their escape.
The department has said SDSCs have already proven successful at helping police prevent crime by using data analysis, gunshot sensors, live surveillance camera feeds, recognition software, and trained crime analysts to predict when crime might happen. The screens inside each center also allow officers to see the locations of police units and incoming calls for service; screens are updated every 30 seconds.
The hope is that SDSCs will spot crimes happening before someone calls 911.
As talks about defunding the police have become a national discussion, this new center was funded by donations from the billionaire, Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel.
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