So the CTA is planning on adding more security cameras on older El cars, and all I can say is “Why?” Because the Chicago Police Department just changed its response plan to 911 calls. According to CBS News Chicago, no longer will CPD respond to reports “like criminal damage to property, vehicle thefts, garage burglaries, or other crimes in which the suspect is no longer on the scene, and the victim isn’t in immediate danger.”
Why add cameras to El cars, then? It seems contradictory to A City Mom. Why are dollars being spent on this, even if the money is a Homeland Security grant? In fact, right now, the funding isn’t there to do live surveillance using the new El security cameras, which would allow police to get a jump on catching the bad guys, which means unless a victim is seriously hurt, or the bad guy decides to steal a phone and then hang around on the train for three more stops, the police are not going to come.
When my cellphone and wallet were stolen from my car a couple of weeks ago, no one came. When one of my fellow bloggers had his life threatened and he called 911, no one came. And remember the news story from last year, about the family that had videotape including the car and license plate of two guys breaking into their garage—and nothing was done? And the guy at my bank who told me he had his golf clubs stolen and called the police and then a few pawn shops and second hand sports stores, one of which had, within hours, the thief come come through the door trying to sell his clubs and got a description and license plate number—and nothing was done.
I understand completely the fiscal mess this city is in and the cutbacks and hard choices our police department must make. They must focus the limited resources they have on violent crimes. I get it. But not responding to these non-violent crimes at all is sending a message to the bad guys: “Go ahead. Commit all the petty crime you want. You’re going to get away with it. Because nothing will be done.”
So video surveillance cameras on more El cars? So what? Until they can fund our police department properly (Say, wouldn't that count as "Homeland Security"? Can't we get a grant for that?) I’m not going to feel safer. Oh, I know, silly me. I guess it’s like what our Mayor says, if we don’t like the CTA changes, we can all just drive our cars.
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