Chicago police report success with security video cameras in crime-intensive streets. City officials propose requiring many businesses to install cameras, too. Photo courtesy: Videolarm

Chicago. Milwaukee. Baltimore. These are among major cities considering or passing ordinances requiring private businesses to install security cameras at entrances, in parking lots and even inside facilities.

The trend toward mandated use of security cameras by private businesses – ranging from high-rise offices to mom-and-pop saloons – has drawn praise and criticism. The praise comes from law enforcement and city officials and the largest businesses that see crime-fighting value in cameras or have already installed them. The criticism comes from small businesses, chambers of commerce and privacy advocates objecting to the cost of installation and operation as well as the perceived invasion of privacy.

Driving some of the push to require more cameras on private facilities is the attraction of networking public and private video monitoring for crime prevention and homeland security needs.

That’s the case in Chicago where the mayor, seeing the success of pole-mounted public cameras, has proposed mandating cameras at the entrances to bars and restaurants that have 4 am liquor licenses. A city alderman has also proposed requiring cameras at all businesses that operate 12 hours or more a day. The bottom line: Chicago wants to draw these private installations into its growing public security video network and – one day – move the expanded network into the 911 emergency dispatch network.

Check out the Zalud Report and a feature article on parking lot security elsewhere in this issue of Security Magazine.