Lincolnwood police to price public surveillance camera system

Lincolnwood[1] officials continue to weigh the pros and cons of putting more cameras in public areas, and the latest discussion concluded earlier this month with trustees directing Lincolnwood police to price a video surveillance system that would monitor the town’s two largest parks. Lincolnwood police Chief Bob LaMantia said at the Jan.

3 village board meeting that he would contact camera system vendors and provide trustees with cost estimates. The village officials asked the police chief to look into camera costs after LaMantia previously noted an uptick in certain crimes last year.

A plan being considered to deter such things as burglaries would call for cameras to be installed in Centennial Park, Proesel Park and along the village’s new recreation paths. The 13 parks in Lincolnwood and the new bike paths that opened near the end of last year offer potential settings for crime to occur, officials said, although the spike in burglaries in 2016 police reported affected mostly residential areas.

“In these places, where kids might be running or playing–and even adults–they would have a better sense of security knowing that as they’re walking through the path there’s something watching them or perhaps protecting them from being assaulted as they’re in a public place,” said Trustee Ron Cope. Officials said they would consider the cost of adding new cameras before making a decision on whether the village should commit to the project.

LaMantia first presented the idea to trustees during the Dec.

20 committee of the whole meeting and the discussion was continued to Jan.

3, where there was overall support for recording more public areas in the village. Public areas already under surveillance in Lincolnwood include the library property, the public works building and water pumping station and the village’s municipal complex, which includes village hall and the police and fire departments. Lincolnwood Town Center mall and Lincolnwood School District 74 also have cameras, according to police.

While Cope voiced support for cameras in public recreation areas, he also said surveillance wouldn’t be a good fit for Lincolnwood’s residential neighborhoods. The trustee said, “we’re looking at something to at least give people a sense of security and serve some benefit to police.” But cameras placed in plain sight carry a stigma, according to Trustee Craig Klatzco.

He said cameras could reduce property values by negatively affecting the community’s image. “We don’t live in a terrible neighborhood…and I’m afraid that if we had them all over people would think we’re in a bad town,” Klatzco said. Nevertheless, some crime in Lincolnwood increased last year, LaMantia said.

Compared to the past five years when the village averaged 61 residential and commercial burglaries per year, there were 66 homes and businesses burglarized during the first 11 months of 2016, according to a report from Lincolnwood police. Vehicular burglaries also increased last year, with 68 reported to police between January and November compared to the five-year average of 62, according to the report. “Burglaries are up this year (2016), no doubt about it, but there’s an increase all across the suburbs,” LaMantia said during the Dec.

20 meeting. “Residential burglaries are of the greatest concern because it’s an invasion of personal space–even if you’re not home when it happens you still feel violated.” The nearby village of Skokie recently spent £16,500 to test a portable public surveillance system to monitor what village spokeswoman Ann Tennes described as “highly-trafficked roadways or areas of concern.” Skokie’s decision to try a surveillance system was prompted by public support indicated in a 2015 survey regarding cameras in public places, she said.

Natalie Hayes is a freelancer.

References

  1. ^ Lincolnwood (www.chicagotribune.com)

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