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Surveillance Camera Proposal For Dodge and Church Moves Forward

City council members voted to go forward with a grant application to install security cameras along the lengths of Dodge Avenue and Church Street.

Despite opposition from some community members, Evanston aldermen voted 5-3 Monday to go forward with a grant application to install security cameras along Dodge Avenue and Church Street. 

Tisdahl initially recommended that the city apply for the grant in December, not long after a resolution to create a “safe school zone” and extend policing powers around Evanston Township High School failed to pass city council. Citing a recent statewide survey on learning conditions that showed only 58 percent of ETHS students say they feel safe “outside around the school,” Tisdahl has said that the proposal is designed to provide an alternative measure to enhance safety for children walking to and from the high school.  

“There’s a young woman who is afraid to go to and from school because of the number of times she’s been shown a gun,” Tisdahl said at Monday night’s meeting. “She lives two blocks from the school, and her mother drives her to and from school. I think we owe our children a better life than that.” 

Under the mayor’s proposal, police would add surveillance cameras along the entire 2.5-mile stretch of Dodge Avenue from Simpson to Howard streets, and along a 1.2-mile stretch of Church Street from city limits at McCormick Boulevard to Ridge Avenue. Cameras would stop at Ridge because there are so many private security cameras downtown that adding more would be unnecessary, according to Tisdahl.

In addition to the new cameras proposed, police already operate numerous surveillance cameras throughout the city, including a handful near the high school, according to Police Chief Richard Eddington.

In order to install the cameras, the city will apply for $200,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program. The grant application is due in February, according to city manager Wally Bobkiewicz. 

Several Evanston residents spoke up about the proposal at Monday night’s city council meeting, and more than 100 people have signed petitions opposing the surveillance cameras. 

Evanston resident Bobby Burns, who is collecting signatures online and in person in the neighborhood around the high school, told Patch he believes the city council does not have enough research to back up the surveillance camera proposal. 

“Has Evanston crime physically impacted students?” Burns wrote in an e-mail to Patch earlier in January. “How many harassments, assaults, or robberies have been reported where an E.T.H.S student was the victim (while traveling between home and school)? Until we have this data, the cameras are solving a need that hasn’t been proven to exist yet.” 

In a public presentation in December, Police Chief Eddington, however, cited a study by the Urban Institute, among others, that showed that installation of surveillance cameras in Chicago, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., was a cost-effective way to reduce crime, including violent crime.  

Aldermen Judy Fiske (1st Ward), Peter Braithwaite (2nd Ward) and Don Wilson (4th Ward) all voted against the grant to install security cameras.

“I’m not comfortable because I feel like this particular solution goes beyond the range of the problem,” Wilson said. “I think we need to try to be more focused on results-oriented tools and solutions.”

jim January 29, 2014 at 08:15 AM
opposition of residents is only listened to and agreed with in some areas of Evanston
Jordan S. Zoot January 29, 2014 at 09:46 AM
The cameras are a good start but, it would be highly preferable to borrow two dozen Cook County Sheriffs with K-9s and implement a really aggressive stop and frisk in the areas of concern. Taking would be offenders down with a dog and keeping them in check is the best way to reduce illegal firearms on the street.
IgnorantA January 29, 2014 at 11:30 AM
While "Evanston resident Bobby Burns, who is collected signatures online and in person in the neighborhood around the high school, believes the city council does not have enough research to back up the surveillance camera proposal" Feel free to spend your own money and that of the 100 or so other residents in opposition to conduct the research you seem to be lacking. For everyone else, we are all satisfied that something needs to be done, and while this may not be the perfect solution, it is a move in the right direction since every other effort to inflict safety changes has been poorly received by a handful of squeaky wheeled neighbors and businesses. Only people that have something to hide or are just plain ignorant to the facts would be opposed to a U.S. Department of Justice funded project. Can Patch please update the story with 3 aldermen who were in opposition so in future elections we can vote them out of office? Thanks
E. January 29, 2014 at 12:43 PM
I don't get what the downside would be to accepting federal grant $ to install security cameras in this location. The proposed area is notoriously high in crime, and Evanston residents currently have no choice but to send their kids into harm's way in order to attend the high school and after school programs. Why would anyone oppose an intervention that could help increase safety and would be paid for with outside funding? If you are a law-abiding person, what is the downside? And let's be clear, this is not about looking into people's houses. This is about monitoring public places.
Lonson Williams January 29, 2014 at 12:44 PM
Patch can't update the article since all of the editors were fired today. See Evanston Now story. I do know who the opposition was, however
jim January 29, 2014 at 12:48 PM
E you know the cameras won't be monitored and the images only tells you something happened if victim. Apparently you can't tell by whom.
Dickelle Fonda January 29, 2014 at 01:13 PM
Let's be clear- the part of route south of Dempster to Howard on Dodge (1.5 miles of this proposal) is ALREADY A SAFE PASSAGE for our students. If you live in these neighborhoods you would know that and if you dont then come visit us and find that out!!!!the EPD will underscore that these areas have a relatively low crime rate and are safe , stable neighborhoods ; SO we need to ask why the over reach of suveillance cameras beyond the two or three block perimeter of ETHS where the EPD has repeatedly identified to be the area of most concern? Do the framers of this proposal want to avoid the appearance of racial bias by only placing cameras in the part of our diverse, yet segregated city, which is home to a majority of Black and Latino families????? It makes you wonder!!!!!
E. January 29, 2014 at 01:14 PM
Editorial note: With all due respect, when you cite someone in an article, don't you usually include their full name & title? Your first mention of Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl just said: "Tisdahl initially recommended that the city apply for the grant in December..." Not once in the article did you give her full name or state that she's the mayor. Seems atypical & vague, not to mention confusing for any readers who don't already know who "Tisdahl" is. Believe it or not, there are kids & adults who sometimes read the news but don't already have their finger on the pulse of Evanston politics. Sorry to be picky, just wondering if this was an oversight or an intentional omission for some reason.
jim January 29, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Dickette I believe there are cameras in other areas of the city including downtown. That came up in previous articles.
John Brinkmann January 29, 2014 at 01:31 PM
Baffling as to why the mayor, city council and police can't seem to figure out one very simple fact---SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS DO NOT DETER CRIME!!!...and to allow such ignorance to continue proves the city is incapable of conducting even the most basic research on the effectiveness of surveillance cameras...At last count we currently have over 200 of these things littered about downtown and other areas, and now were going to line almost 3 miles of streets with them???---this is sheer insanity...how can our civic leaders be so blind to think it's okay to monitor our lives with these Orwellian intrusions on privacy...The only thing accomplished by video surveillance and crime is you now have the incident on video tape---big deal---did that stop the crime from happening?---and in most cases the identity of the criminal goes unknown...In depth research results from London, Chicago, San Francisco, and many other major cities have all documented the same results with their CCTV systems--->economic disaster with approximately 1% conviction rate...take a look at the sites provided and by all means, conduct your own research---but be wary of sites with connections to government, sales, and usage of CCTV---http://reason.com/archives/2010/05/06/the-failure-of-surveillance-ca....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveillance_abuse...http://sanleandrotalk.voxpublica.org/2013/09/13/surveillance-cameras-dont-work-against-crime/...https://www.aclu.org/technology-and-liberty/surveillance-cameras-threaten-privacy-and-waste-taxpayer-money-says-aclu
Jordan S. Zoot January 29, 2014 at 01:35 PM
Dickelle.....it would be enlightening to have statistics with regard to the number of arrests in Evanston broken down by race and ethnicity. Perhaps that would provide the answer to your question.
Local Resident January 29, 2014 at 02:37 PM
It would also be enlightening Jordan to breakdown the mental illness you process in regard to your responses and post. Blant racism is one of your problems, the major one. Sheriffs, K-9 and dogs will never happen in regard to a area trying to provide safety for school kids.
Dickelle Fonda January 29, 2014 at 02:54 PM
Since there is a lot of misinformation about this proposal i would like to add three additional points: there already are lights and cameras being installed all around ETHS with $60,000 of city tax dollars which will be completed by Spring- many are already in-; the Mayor's proposal for the use of Federal tax dollars extends the corridor of cameras south on Dodge for 1.5 miles into neighborhoods which already offer "safe passage " for our students; the EPD has explained that the cameras they would install will NOT be monitored in real time- only after an incident are they of value when they may retrieve images -although they also do not have facial recognition capacity; and the grant which the city will apply to allows funding for a wide range of programs beyond cameras such as overtime costs for community officers to actually interact and provide a human presence on the street as opposed to turning the safety of our children over to inert and ineffective technology which only offers an illusion of safety.
Jordan S. Zoot January 29, 2014 at 02:58 PM
Actually Local Resident EPD has a history of "borrowing" personnel from the Cook County for gang related operations....for example http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20131212/west-rogers-park/cops-with-mobile-interrogation-rooms-launch-crackdown-west-rogers-park . So you might want to understand facts before you post statements that demonstrate your ignorance. Asking for a breakdown of arrests by race is certainly a valid measure and it didn't contain any inference as to what the outcome might be so feel free to keep your IGNORANT comments to yourself. When you have a chance you might do all of us a favor and define the word "blant" as I can't seem to find it in a dictionary. I would also love to be enlightened with respect to how one distinguishes between K-9 and dogs. Let's wait until the weather warms up and see if "stop and frisk" doesn't become a reality around ETHS if the thugs start up again.
Local Resident January 29, 2014 at 05:16 PM
Zoot, it's called the North Shore Task Force, comprised of officers from North Shore local authorities. I am sure you would like to see the water hoses used with the dogs too. Move your ignorant ass to some isolated woods with your Ted Nugent rhetoric...I.m sure you would love to be the rabbit !
jim January 29, 2014 at 05:54 PM
Looking at that picture of the camera. Looks like it could peek in windows,
Jordan S. Zoot January 29, 2014 at 06:17 PM
S...why not let it peek in windows....if people aren't in violation of the law so be it.....perhaps they need to waive the 4th amendment for any property within a 1.5 mile radius of ETHS.....for the benefit of the overall community....and add appropriate waivers for 14th amendment and due process.....its time to subjugate civil rights for the benefit of the community.
Local Resident January 29, 2014 at 07:43 PM
Just as I expected, a so on and so on manifesto of racism and hate,, There will never be a reincarnation of your twisted heroes that you idolize, the sickness in your parents seed is evident...
Jordan S. Zoot January 30, 2014 at 09:23 AM
Its truly sad when someone views reasonable efforts at crime control and prevention as racism and hate. Its even scarier when they make no sense. I am wondering where anyone in this thread is talking about twisted heros. Then we get to the discussion of blant and water hoses. Its one thing to disagree with someone...its a completely different matter not to understand what they are saying because they make no sense.
IgnorantA January 30, 2014 at 10:10 AM
Its interesting reading some of these comments, some believe the cameras might be able to peer in to windows others believe they will never be able to identify who is doing what. For those fearing the camera might peer into windows, in my mind it would be no different than a pedestrian walking a dog past your house and looking inside, if you don’t want to be seen, close the blinds… While the camera’s at this time MIGHT not be able to provide perfect facial recognition that can be used to effectively convict / identify parties involved it still can be used to aid law enforcement on what exactly happened i/e number of people involved, automobile identifications, colors of clothing / skin, etc… However, there is a lot more to a system like this than just a bunch of cameras playing big brother to certain areas of the community. Just as important as the camera’s themselves, is the underlying network infrastructure that would be deployed as part of this project. Installing the network infrastructure is most likely the most expensive component of this entire project. As camera technology continues to improve, with the network infrastructure in place, inferior cameras can easily be swapped out when newer, more capable cameras with better facial recognition abilities become available. The point of this being, with the network infrastructure in place, there are more things that can piggy back on to the network that can be used to benefit the community. Imagine on the same light poles that have cameras mounted that there are also Wifi access points deployed with the city being able to provide free public wifi access to these same neighborhoods? Impossible, actually it is very easy, through the use of VLANS or different wifi bands it is very simple to create a public AND a private network traversing on the same network. Currently, with the Toughbook laptops deployed in squad cars, when an officer needs to submit a report, they have to “come back to the shop” to submit their report into the CAD records system, imagine with this network installed, officers being able to be parked near ETHS doing their “paperwork” remotely, while at the same time providing a police presence to the students and residents? All of this is possible with the network infrastructure in place. So I am directing this next question directly to you, Bobby Burns, when you were out gathering your signatures, did you happen to mention any of the positives that could be obtained with such a project? Do you think if I was to walk door to door and ask all of the residents if they would be against to potential of having free wifi internet access they would not sign my petition as well? So yes, Bobby, as you conduct your research and gather facts, gather all of the facts not just the facts that suit your narrow minded objective….
Jordan S. Zoot January 30, 2014 at 10:19 AM
I just had an idea..how about installing a GPS chip into the skull of every convicted violent felon that would permit the police to track them 24x7 with a device that could be handheld or placed in a police car....imagine how much easier it would make the process of looking for trouble makers or wanted fugitives. Once the chips were installed they couldn't be removed without performing brain surgery. Further...it the technology is available why not add facial recognition to the cameras it would speed up the process of identifying the problems.
carol j dixon January 31, 2014 at 10:49 AM
Cameras in the capacity stated would be okay. I see we have our homegrown idiot, Mr Zoot on this thread. You, Mr Zoot are a strange bird. First of all, this not a Nazi Germany, this not an area controlled by neanderthals , so if you have issues such as the least of us shopping at Whole foods, cameras at Church and Dodge, why don't you move because you don't have the right mentality to be a citizen of Evanston or the North Shore. "Don't let the door hit you on the way out". You are sleaze.
Jordan S. Zoot January 31, 2014 at 10:59 AM
Ms. Dixon.....no one puts you in the position to decide who can live anywhere...thank you for being an ignorant bimbo. FYI.....Patch provides a wonderful outlet when I get bored it provides an opportunity to am up the libritards that inhabit parts of the community.
carol j dixon January 31, 2014 at 11:24 AM
@zoot, ha ha ha, thanks for the honor,. When a racist labels me a bimbo, it is a badge of honor. Never would I suggest you move, but you seem sooo frustrated with this area where the majority, thank God aren't in agreement with you. I have work to do, maybe you should find a hobby. It certainly would help.

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