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City expands security-camera program

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Free cams available for the poor 

From staff reports

The City’s Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC) has announced the launch of a new Income-Based Application that allows Chicagoans to obtain outdoor security devices, based on income.

The expansion builds on what officials call the success of the Home and Business Protection Rebate Application, which helps city residents and business receive rebates up to certain limits for security devices obtained on or after June 6, 2022.Screen Shot 2022 09 24 at 4.28.11 AM

“The expansion of the Home and Business Protection Program demonstrates our commitment to ensure equitable access to outdoor security devices,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “We’re excited to expand this program so that every Chicagoan has access to the resources to protect their property and feel safe.”

Anyone who meets the eligibility criteria below may apply for security devices through the HBPP Income-Based Application:

  • The applicant must show documentation proving that they reside in the City of Chicago.
  • The applicant must provide Social Security Number (SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or other form of identification.
  • The applicant must meet the income qualification, which is 300 percent of the federal poverty level, and provide supporting documentation.

Once applications are approved, residents will be able to pick up their security devices at a designated community distribution site. The package will include two wireless outdoor security cameras and one outdoor solar powered security floodlight. The program is first-come, first-served. It will run through Dec.31, 2024 or until funds are depleted.

“Since we launched the Home and Business Protection Program, we saw thousands of residents interested in obtaining security resources. We know that there are many more who want these devices but face financial barriers that prevent them from applying for a rebate,” said Tamara Mahal, Chief Coordination Officer for Community Safety. “With the HBPP Income-Based Application, we’re hoping to remove these barriers and ensure there are more cameras and lighting in the households and communities where they are needed the most.”

The expansion comes after the program’s initial launch on June 6. Through the HBPP Rebate Application, Chicago residents, as well as business, religious and non-profit organizations can receive rebates up to certain limits for security devices obtained on or after June 6, 2022. To date, the City has received 3,800 reimbursement applications and has approved over $350,000 in reimbursement payments to community members and businesses.

While registration of the camera system location is optional, over 1,920 camera locations are now registered with the Chicago Police Department, with camera footage being requested and utilized in ongoing investigations.

“To build safe and thriving communities, we must work together,” said Superintendent David O. Brown. “By registering cameras and other devices with CPD, residents will help detectives continue to solve crimes more efficiently and take violent offenders off the street more quickly.”

For residents who decide to register their cameras, CPD will not have direct access to the camera system and cannot gain access to camera footage without consent. By registering, residents allow CPD to request camera footage in the event of a crime. Residents reserve the right to refuse access to camera footage at all times. Those who are interested in aiding in criminal investigations have the option to register the location of their camera system at chicagopolice.org/cameraregistration.

“The power of public libraries is that they serve as great equalizers for communities,” said Chicago Public Library Commissioner Chris Brown. “Everyone in this city deserves access to private security devices and we’re thrilled to offer internet for applications and to help distribute the devices. As this program expands, so will the number of libraries that serve as distribution sites.”

“Everyone has a role to play in violence prevention and it’s my role as an alderperson to provide constituents with tools and opportunities to help make our communities safer,” said 37th Ward Ald. Emma Mitts. “In Austin, we’ll be distributing free security devices to eligible residents, allowing community members to participate firsthand in violence prevention and solving crimes that have impacted our neighborhood.”

For more information on the Home and Business Protection Program and to find out which type of application is right for you, visit Chicago.gov/HBPP.

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