CPS to Invest $7 Million to Boost School Safety Through High-Tech Camera Systems 

Implementation of new technology would promote safe and positive learning environments


July 24, 2011


CHICAGO -- Chicago Public Schools officials are proposing an enhanced electronic security system that would place new high-definition security cameras at 14 high schools during fiscal year 2012.


Despite facing difficult economic times, CPS officials say the investment in a new state-of-the-art camera system would further enhance the safety and security of students and create a safer climate for teaching and learning.


The proposed new camera strategy would cost $7 million during FY 2012. Implementation of the system would build upon existing successes in student safety and school climate at Fenger High School, which already has piloted the new camera system.


“Despite the tough economic times facing our district, we’re taking additional steps to reduce crime and create a school environments that are safe for students and staff, which is vital for teaching and learning,” said CPS CEO Jean-Claude Brizard. “Enhancing and maintaining a real sense of safety and creating a positive environment within our schools is a significant tool in driving student outcomes.”


The high-tech system has been piloted at Fenger High School, where misconduct cases declined by 59 percent from the 2010 to 2011 school year, arrests dropped by 69 percent and index crimes declined by 67 percent. False fire alarms at Fenger dropped from eight in the 2008 school year to zero last year. More recently, the system has been installed at Solorio and South Shore High Schools.


Along with the new enhanced technology, Fenger’s safety initiatives include Culture of Calm and Safe Passage.


This year’s plan would place between 50 and 80 cameras at 14 high schools that were identified through the use of specific safety metrics and school incident data – such as number of cases of severe misconduct under the CPS Student Code of Conduct, arrests in or on school property, and crimes in or on school property reported by law enforcement. Information drawn from these metrics formed the criteria for selection of the schools.


The high schools that would receive the cameras in FY 12 include: Clemente, Hyde Park, Sullivan, Morgan Park, Orr, Marshall, Dunbar, Tilden, Bogan, Wells, Senn, Juarez, Julian and Farragut.


The Chicago Public Schools security camera system was introduced in 1999. The present system is composed of video recording system with 7,000-plus analogue cameras across 268 schools. Another 365 schools currently have no cameras.


Moving to the new state-of-the-art camera platform will enhance the current system and also leverage resources from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), CPS officials said.


Through this system:


  • Images ported to nearest Police Station, to mobile devices and can be viewed at CPS Safety and Security, CPD and OEMC
  • The system will produce quality video images that will allow for future video analytics
  • The system will operate on a user-friendly camera platform which uses standard technology and facilitate the training of security personnel


CPS has worked with the Mayor’s Office Citywide Camera Committee. Other agencies involved in the committee include OEMC, CPD, Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Housing Authority, Navy Pier, Chicago Department of Aviation, City Colleges of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority and the Public Building Commission of Chicago.


Read the Chicago Tribune story, "Chicago Public Schools officials eyeing updated security cameras for 14 high schools" here.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 409,279 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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