CPS adds cameras to schools in effort to boost 'security'... Rahm Emanuel commits to ignoring massive problem of city's drug gangs just like his predecessor did

While continuing to ignore the massive gang problems in Chicago (evidenced most recently by the increase in police-involved shootings, as reported in the news on July 24, 2011), the Chicago Public Schools has again come up with a way to simultaneously ignore the major problem causing violence in and around the city's public schools and spend millions of dollars on politically connected contracts.

Gang graffiti on a building wall in the Schurz High School area in May 2009 (above) indicates a feud between one branch of the Maniac Latin Disciples (MLD) street gang and the Four Corner Huslters gang. In the graffiti above, the 4CH are breaking the symbol of the MLDs (the heart with the swaztika and angel wings to the right), indicating the intention of the Four Corner Hustlers to kill MLDs. Virtually every student in Chicago's general high schools and middle schools (and many elementary schools) has to know about the local gangs in order to walk the streets and survive, but Chicago's political and economic leaders continue to pretend that the city's massive drug gangs (much greater than anything depicted in the iconic HBO film "The Wire") are not a problem in the schools. Substance photo by George N. SchmidtThe media offensive to tout technology and ignore the huge problem facing a large number of the city's schools is typical of the way in which Chicago has ignored one of the most dramatic social and criminal problems it faces. Because Chicago has the largest and best organized drug gangs in the USA (dwarfing those depicted by Hollywood in movies about Los Angeles), a serious approach to the gangs would require following the money trails that lead from the gangs to the higher reaches of social, political and economic power in the nation's third largest city. That has been forbidden for generations, as part of a cover up that is enormous in both scope and in the length of its history.

There is not one general high school in Chicago where a brief survey of the students would not reveal precisely which gangs claimed that school. Most of the city's general high schools in the 21st Century are claimed by the "Disciples" gangs (represented by the six-pointed star), while a virulent minority are claimed by the "People" (five pointed star). While those who learn about gangs from Hollywood (rather than in the rough lessons of the streets) talk about "Crips" and "Bloods," in Chicago the five and six govern. The reason is that the gangs' leaders, because of budget cuts, long ago divided up the turfs within the state prison system, operating under their leaders as a shadow government within the system. Senior gang leaders in the state's prisons have more power than police, prison guards, or judges and courts over the life and death of the prisoners.

In a July 24 press release, the CPS Office of Communications reported the following:

A few months before the first photograph in this article was taken (of an MLD dispute on Chicago's north side), the garage across the street from Gage Park High School nearly 12 miles away was covered with the other side of the dispute. In the above graphic narrative, the MLDs (pitchforks up in this case) are stating their intentions of killing the Latin Kings (crowns upside down). Gang problems at Chicago's general high schools, whether Schurz on the north side or Gage Park miles away, stem from the political and economic power of the city's huge drug gangs, and the decision by Chicago's ruling class to focus attention away from the gangs an towards other narratives. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt. Chicago Public Schools to Invest $7 Million to Boost School Safety Through High-Tech Camera Systems. Implementation of new technology would promote safe and positive learning environments

For more information contact: Frank Shuftan, CPS Office of Communications, Phone: 773-553-1620--office. 773-553-1613--direct. 773-841-7280--cell. E-mail:


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.

The above MLD graffiti, from a desk in a north side high school in October 2009, represents the Maniac Latin Disciples (MLDs). A tiny sliver of such graffiti (the above piece is smaller than a quarter) indicates control, even if many teachers are counseled to ignore it. Some versions of the narrative (such as "KK, MLD") could constitute a declaration of war, a statement of the intention to murder another student ("KK" means "King Killer."). Anonymous photo verified by Substance.“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

Above, three members of the "Lady Taliban" branch of the Gangster Disciples street gang who their weapons in this photograph provided to Substance from sources at Chicago's Julian High School two years ago. 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.

Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 410,000 students. It is the nation’s [sic] third-largest school system.

– –


July 25, 2011 at 7:46 PM

By: Bob Busch



Anyone else notice the double play going on? Take the police off first base. Then force the cameras out at second. From personal experience I can tell you that cameras are a cheap ineffective substitute for real youth officers. By that I mean officers that have earned the respect and confidence of an entire campus. The kind of person a kid will confide with intel, sure that they won’t be somewhere else when it goes down fifth period.

I just retired from one of the 14 schools earmarked for new cameras. The halls ,doors, and part of the parking lot where the Administration have "Reserved" parking spots are already festooned with cameras. The problem is two fold: The students engaged in mayhem also know where they are, so they wear a Hoodie or have the beat down in a blind spot. The other factor is the human element. I went into the Men’s washroom there were two kids in the back. I went about my business until a garbage can bounced off my head. Either One of the kids did it, or somebody followed me into the room.

There is a camera right at the door way aimed to view the faces of everyone entering. You would think it could capture the images of four people. But according to the head of security it was broken. I still think it was a lie but I didn’t know who it was. That kind of crap happened every day. I did find out through the chalk line who it was .

July 26, 2011 at 1:13 AM

By: John Kugler

Another View from Police

whether you agree or not here is another side of the story from a police blog. I did not censor the comments.


Once Again, Faulty Logic

Cameras will save us all:

* High-tech security cameras could be coming to some Chicago Public Schools.

The system would beam images directly to Chicago police, an would be installed at schools with the most security issues, in a bid to create a safer atmosphere in the nation's third-largest school district, with more than 400,000 students.

CPS Superintendent Jean Claude Brizard said the system would be worth the $7 million is would cost, even though CPS is currently experiencing a $612 million deficit.

Eighty security cameras will be installed in 14 troubled high schools in the city.

Security cameras were installed at Fenger High School in a pilot program, following the beating death of Derrion Albert in 2009.

But if memory serves, the infamous snuff video was taken by a hand-held cellular phone before being obtained by the police department. Security cameras would have had nothing to do with the case as the fight happened a block or more away from the school.

And this paragraph is just ignorant:

* Fenger has more than three dozen cameras at entrances, hallways and outside the building. Those cameras have helped police arrest a suspect in several burglaries. The school has seen a 59 percent drop in misconduct, and 79 percent drop in arrests since the security cameras were installed.

Gee, that couldn't have anything to do with the fact that the entire district is held down at Fenger for upwards of an hour around dismissal time, leading to an artificial police presence that, while keeping the assholes at Fenger under control, dooms the rest of the district to a backlog that won't be solved for hours and denies other victims of crimes any sort of police response whatsoever?

The same situation can be found at many other high schools where the entire watch ends up babysitting these future doctors, lawyers and astronauts - Clemente, Hyde Park, Sullivan, Morgan Park, Orr, Marshall, Dunbar, Tilden, Bogan, Wells, Senn, Juarez, Julian and Farragut. But don't worry:

* There has also been a proposal to reduce the number of police officers present at these schools, to re-deploy them to the street. These cameras could end up replacing cops at schools.

Good luck with that.

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