U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ranked Chicago’s Big Brother network of well over 10,000 public and private surveillance cameras as one of the nation’s most extensive and integrated.
“Expansion of cameras citywide is one of the highest priorities that will help us here in the city of Chicago,” Daley said with Napolitano at his side. “Cameras are the key. They are a deterrent. They solve crimes. It deals with terrorism. It deals with gangs, guns and drugs in our society.”
After touring the 911 emergency center that doubles as a clearinghouse for surveillance video, Napolitano pronounced Chicago’s “very robust camera infrastructure” among the “top two or three” in the nation. Asked to identify rivals, she named only New York City.
Daley and Napolitano used the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to pronounce Chicago as safe as any major city can possibly be. “In a world where we cannot eliminate all risks, Chicagoans can be confident that every effort that I know of that can be made is being made to minimize the risk. And if something were to happen, their first-responders are prepared,” Napolitano said.
According to a Chicago Sun-Times report, Daley announced that the Department of Homeland Security has decided to assign a “full-time liason” to Chicago. The mayor's chief-of-staff Ray Orozco, a former fire commissioner, already serves on a Homeland Security Task Force, an elite group of first-responders charged with evaluating the national strategy on emergency preparedness.