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Private Eyes, They're Watching You

By Aaron Bailey in News on May 10, 2005 7:03PM

FF_154_crime1_f.jpgChicago crime has dropped considerably since 2003 -- when we suffered the highest murder rate in the U.S. -- thanks in large part to police use of new technology. The May issue of Wired features all the geeky toys the police have used to reduce crime and increase efficiency.

Five-hundred miles of fiber optics links every police station to a network of databases called "Clear" (Citizen Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting). Using real-time crime statistics, the system can predict where crime will occur in the future, allowing the police to deploy troops based on accurate need. In the near future, even all cop cars will be wirelessly linked to this central nervous system.

While most applaud Clear, it's the use of a pilot network of cameras that is causing controversy. For now, 30 cameras are deployed on the West Side but the system will eventually include 2,250 cameras throughout the city, which concerns privacy advocates. The cameras are able to zoom in close enough to see the "wisps of a mustache," according to Wired.

While Chicagoist enjoys safer streets, the prospect of the police knowing whether we shaved that day is a bit 1984ish. Is the new technology worth it?

(image via