Eyes In The Elmwood Skies
This week many of the city surveillance cameras were installed on the lamp posts up and down Elmwood Avenue. These things are easy to spot during the day, and they're even easier to spot at night. The cameras look like an appendage of the Sony dancing robots, complete with blinking blue light to notify troublemakers of their existence. When I stopped to take a photo of one, I was stopped by Luanne diBernardo (photo) who seemed to be very keen on the whole idea. "I had to change a tire when it was dark last night," she told me. "I know that Elmwood is not dangerous, but the whole time that I was working on the tire (in the Spot Coffee parking lot) I was very aware that the camera was there."
Just talking to Luanne gave me the impression that the cameras were doing a good job. According to Dan Leonard of the Elmwood Village Association having the cameras hitting the street is a good thing. “We were never actually told how many we would get,” he told me. “So far it looks like there are three out there… one at Bidwell, one at Auburn and one on the 500 block. I think that these will help when it comes to people loitering and will curb public drinking.”
The other day I was checking out some street graffiti tags downtown and when I mentioned the work to someone the first thing they did was ask me whether there was a surveillance camera around. At that point I didn't even think to look... now I might actually head back to see if there is one. And if there is one, what sort of system is there to report incidents? These blinking blue eyes have been spotted all over the city. Some people may think that they infringe on our privacy. Me? I'd like to head down to master control and find out what sort of interesting actions have been caught on video.