Big Brother's Watch Now Includes Navy Pier

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jun 11, 2009 3:20PM

Photo by digital grid
Mayor Daley loves cameras. Be it red light cameras, street sweeping cameras, or surveillance cameras, he can't seem to get enough of them. So he must be thrilled after last night's "unveiling" of 200 new security cameras placed around Navy Pier. The new $4.2 million monitoring system comes from IBM and, in a way, makes sense as Navy Pier is one of the city's top tourist attractions; Crain's says 8.3 million people visited in 2008. Or maybe Mayor Daley just wants to keep an eye on all those commies over at WBEZ (we kid!). The system, which was installed in February, has already proved useful.

Footage led to the arrest of at least one pickpocket and another person who was trying to damage a store after it had closed, said Vince Gavin, the pier's director of governmental and special operations. It has alerted emergency divers to the location of people who fall into the water, he said.

One of the cameras is on the inlet to the city's next-door water filtration plant, Gavin said.

The thing that makes us uneasy? The Trib cites officials as saying the new system is part of "an effort to expand camera coverage to lakefront beaches, McCormick Place and Soldier Field." Security cameras can have a huge upside in deterring and solving crime, sure. But with the way Daley is putting every nook and cranny of the city in the view of a camera, we'd be lying if we said we weren't a little nervous.