‘Intelligent’ Video Surveillance/Security Going City-Wide in Chicago

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by David Crane
defrev at gmail.com

It looks like Chicago is soon going to have the most advanced city-wide intelligent video surveillance system (i.e. intelligent security system) in the United States. The Associated Press is reporting that the City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is teaming up with IBM and Genetec on the project, which is part of Chicago’s Operation Virtual Shield (OVS). OVS is reportedly one of the world’s largest video security deployments.

It looks like the primary intelligent security/surveillance aspect is…

provided by Genetec’s Omnicast IP Video Surveillance solution. Part of the security sytem’s infrastructure will consist of a unified fiber network. However, this will be augmented with the Firetide HotPort mesh nodes and HotPoint access points for wireless flexibility, where it’s difficult or impossible to lay the fiber.

The resulting highly-advanced city-wide (networked) video security system will be capable of recognizing and tracking strange behavior (like a car circling too many times around a building), people, and potentially dangerous stationary objects (like a vehicle, case, backpack, etc. that doesn’t belong at a given location). And, the system’s analytics package will likely contain some type of license plate reading software, like the Genetec AutoVu IP License Plate Recognition Solution.

Frankly, DefenseReview is torn on this tech. On the one hand, assuming it works as advertised, it should assist in deterring crime, and perhaps even terrorist attacks, where the cameras are present, assuming criminals and/or terrorists can’t easily disable them. However, it does seem very Nineteen Eighty-Four in nature and scope, and I don’t know that I’d want to live on camera like the British subjects (particularly in London) have become accustomed. That said, if it keeps the enemy (i.e. terrorists) from blowing up the Sears Tower or detonating a nuclear device in the Loop and taking out 10-12 (or upwards of 20-30) square city blocks in an instant, then we have to be for it. After all, that’s the end game. That’s what the enemy wants to do: hit one or several cities at once with nuclear attacks, and cripple us.

On the anti-crime front, instead of city-wide video surveillance cameras, DefenseReview would much rather see the law-abiding residents of Chicago start carrying concealed firearms and take responsibility for their own protection, rather than rely on security cameras to save them. Of course, Chicago (and Illinois) politics will most likely never allow this until and unless they’re forced to do so by the courts.  It is very likely that lawsuits will be filed against the city (Chicago) challenging the city-wide gun ban on the heels of the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision for District of Columbia vs. Heller, assuming that decision goes how many expect it to go, which is agains the District of Columbia. However, even if the Chicago gun ban is defeated, residents will still most likely not be allowed to actually carry concealed firearms inside city limits.  So, anyone wanting to do this (carry concealed) would have to do so illegally, and in stark defiance of Chicago’s Draconian anti-self-protection / anti-Second Amendment law(s).

DefenseReview wouldn’t be surprised if many Chicagoans already own and keep firearms in their homes and perhaps even carry firearms in defiance of Chicago’s strict anti-gun laws (and have done so for years), which many believe are in direct violation of their right to self protection and the Second Amendment, and thus not worthy of following.

Anyway, Defense Review is interested to see how the Big-Brother system works out. We hope we don’t have to find out just how intelligent the system really is.

Company and Organizational Contact Info:

Jenna Gable
IBM Media Relations
917-472-3512 Office
gablej@us.ibm.com Email

Kevin Smith
City of Chicago OEMC
312-746-9454 Office
kssmith@cityofchicago.org Email

‘Intelligent’ Video Surveillance/Security Going City-Wide in Chicago by

About David Crane

David Crane started publishing online in 2001. Since that time, governments, military organizations, Special Operators (i.e. professional trigger pullers), agencies, and civilian tactical shooters the world over have come to depend on Defense Review as the authoritative source of news and information on "the latest and greatest" in the field of military defense and tactical technology and hardware, including tactical firearms, ammunition, equipment, gear, and training.

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