No Fatigue, No Boredom and Absolutely Focused: Chicago’s Advanced Video Security Network


Chicago has thousands of security cameras in use by businesses and police—including some equipped with devices that recognize the sound of a gunshot, turn cameras toward the source sound and make a 911 call. A new generation of cameras with the help of IBM can be programmed to recognize a wanted car, ‘perceive’ a truck that circles the Sears Tower multiple times, or ‘perceive’ a backpack or package left in a suspicious position.

Firetide Inc. ( provides the wireless connectivity for the project.

Buffalo Grove-based RMS Technology Solutions Inc. ( has been building the Portable Overt Digital Surveillance System (PODSS) that includes surveillance cameras, bullet proof casing and top-mounted flashing blue strobe lights since 2003. RMS has also built the Chicago Police Department’s wireless video network and enhanced its fiber wire infrastructure, allowing wireless transmission back to the Emergency Communications Center.

In the Harrison District, where the cameras were first introduced, homicides dropped by more than half. In 2002, the 70 murders in the Harrison District were the highest for any district in Chicago. PODSS was installed in June 2003, and by 2004, there were just 25 murders in the district. Also, the number of citywide homicides in Chicago dropped from 599 in 2003 to 447 in 2005 — a decrease of 25 percent.

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