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Why is There a Police Camera in Your Neighborhood?

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) uses a formula to calculate whether your neighborhood should receive a camera. If your local corner gets a score of 100, then the CPD may place a camera on the corner. The formula is:

  • 1 point for calls for service

  • 2 points for reported crimes (public violence, public nuisance, and drug related)

  • 2 points for reported arrests (public violence, public nuisance, and drug related)

The formula relies on a 90 day period with a distance of about 200 meters from the camera location. So assuming you could get the data, here is a hypothetical analysis for 5000 W Madison:

100 Calls for Service = 100 points

20 Reported crimes = 40 points

25 Arrests = 50 points

Total = 190 points

The 190 points is above the threshold score of 100 and therefore 5000 W Madison could be a candidate for a CPD surveillance camera.

Unfortunately, the CPD doesn't make it easy to calculate these scores. Only reported crimes is publicly available at gis.chicagopolice.org. Even then, the CPD restricts you to viewing 14 days of data at a particular location, even though they provide 90 days worth of data. The other two sources of data, calls for service and arrests, are not provided to the public by the CPD web page. Don't get me started on the lack of crime data, it's really an injustice!

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