Secondary Research Synthesis

Secondary Research Guiding Questions

Issue / Problem Statement 

Chicago has seen a recent influx in the installation of surveillance systems with an estimated 24,000 cameras installed as of recent throughout the city, including the CTA, streets and schools. In fact, Chicago has the most red light cameras installed than any other city. Officials explain that the increase is a matter of public safety and used to protect citizens against violent crimes and traffic violations, but statistics show otherwise. In reality, surveillance cameras contribute to less than 1% of arrests. The facts and numbers prove that these surveillance cameras are being used more for revenue than they are actually protecting the citizens of Chicago. Even red light cameras are being used as pure speed traps, setting the speed limit lower than what is actually posted. With a system of overwhelming monitoring capabilities, many Chicagoans are subject to unknown surveillance by the city and they are not aware of it. While those in power reassure the public that the system will not be abused, there is still no legislation that requires any transparency when it comes to the use of these cameras. Chicagoans and their privacy are at risk on a grand scale in a city that has a history of abusive surveillance techniques used against its citizens. If Chicagoans could see the facts and numbers associated with this issue visually represented somehow, then maybe the citizens of Chicago will be more aware of the potential impact of this abuse in their private lives.


1. How are the traffic/crime rates affected in areas where cameras are installed?

2. What areas of Chicago have the most density of surveillance systems? Why is that? Is there some correlation between where these cameras are being installed and the demographics of certain areas in Chicago?

3. In what ways are these surveillance systems being abused and used against us? Has anyone been affected negatively by camera surveillance in ways other than traffic tickets? How are they used to invade our personal privacy instead of protecting us as they are originally intended for?

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