CASE STUDY: MARQUETTE PARK – SSA #14
Marquette Park Special Service Area #14 on the southwest side of Chicago was created by the Chicago City Council for the purpose of establishing a residential security supplement to the 8th District police for protection in the neighborhood from 67th to 74th streets and between Bell and Kedzie avenues. SSA #14 generates revenue for the sole purpose of hiring and coordinating the efforts of a licensed security firm in an attempt to reduce the number of illegal incidents occurring in the Marquette Park neighborhood. The Lithuanian Human Services Council of the USA, Inc. has been the sole service provider for SSA # 14 since the beginning of the program.
The neighborhood consists of single family homes, apartment building and businesses. Many of the businesses serve as hangouts for young people in the neighborhood. The presence of loiterers and particularly gang members was a key concern for residents and SSA#14.
VinTech Systems installed 13 surveillance cameras at various locations throughout the area with a Central Monitoring Station of all cameras set up at the SSA 14 Office. The surveillance cameras were installed primarily on rooftops of businesses along western Avenue, 69th Street (Lithuanian Plaza Courtroom) and 71st Road, and some schools as well as residences too. The cameras were positioned in hotspots of criminal activity, known for drug dealings and shootings. They’re positioned so that they can view activities in the area, which have led to some arrests.
Our cameras are not locked into any one location. When the criminals move, we are able to move the actual cameras as well. We also equipped patrol cars with monitors mounted in their cars to help keep an eye on the actual cameras. There was an incident that involved a World War II veteran who was beaten up and robbed. A witness saw what happened and alerted police, and although the victim could not identify his attacker, an arrest was made because the incident was caught on tape by one of the cameras.
Security cameras are effective deterrents and they help with prosecution of criminals. Cameras can zoom in and out, focusing in close enough to see drug transactions and other illegal activity taking place. According to Joe Polikaitis Chairman, “The Lithuanian Human Services Council of the USA, Inc., a sole service provider, expected that installation of surveillance cameras would deter criminal activity in various hot spots and they especially expected the cameras to be a valuable asset with criminal prosecutions. To date, our expectations have mostly been met.”