On the West Side, a scene out of 'The Wire' 2012... Chicago Drug Gangs Operate Freely While Cameras Record What?

A video made anonymously on Chicago's West Side on March 14, 2012 tells everything anyone wants to know about the corruption of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's plan to replace more and more police officers (and in the schools, school security people) with cameras in the inner city. The video, which was filmed on March 14, 2012 at the corner of Francisco and Wilcox in Chicago, shows dozens of young people partying, pissing on the corner, selling drugs, and disrupting what should be a peaceful community. And clearly seen in the opening seconds of the video is the City of Chicago blue light camera, blinking away as if nothing were taking place.

The URL for the video is:

This is all taking place while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's police chief, former Newark New Jersey police chief Garry McCarthy, is talking tough about cracking down on the drug gangs in the pages of the Chicago Sun-Times (March 20, 2012). At the same time, the mayor is planning to spend millions of dollars on expensive video surveillance equipment — while gutting and cutting school staffs and police. Emanuel has apparently decided that the elimination of people and their replacement with technology is best for the future of Chicago.

Only a one percenter from the suburbs with no knowledge of the city's streets and communities (and less concern for the law abiding people there) could come up with lucrative patronage plans like these.

The original URL for the Francisco and Wilcox video was: but was taken down shortly after it was originally published here at on March 20, 2012. The current version does not have sound.

Chicago's mayor hosts media events on an almost daily basis, but avoids many of the more serious policy questions his administration is creating. An example is the mayor's promotion of speed cameras at public schools while ignoring less expensive (and already existing) alternatives. A good question during this public discussion about Rahm Emanuel's plan to put speed cameras in front of schools: Don't speed humps in the streets work anymore? Dozens of schools currently have speed humps in the streets around the schools, and they could easily (and inexpensively) be expanded and maintained. They are cheaper, and they actually slow down cars (except for those who want to lose their bumpers speeding).

But speed humps would be built and maintained by city workers, who are members of unions. Speed cameras, on the other hand, cost a great deal of money that would go in contracts to those favored by Chicago's mayor.

Chicago's drug gangs are as widespread, powerful, and dangerous as at any time in the city's history, and cutting back on the number of police (which the mayor has done) and the number of school security people in the schools (which the mayor's school board has done) will not curtail the gangs. When asked about the relationship between cameras and security, one CPS security official (who asked to remain anonymous) said, "I've never known a camera to prevent a crime, and they rarely help us solve them."

If any of the peoples' videos about these crimes disappears from the Web, a quick update for interested Chicagoans on gang symbols and hand signs can be found at the NBC website, where they did a very good, and current, job of making a kind of visual catalogue. The URL for that is:


March 22, 2012 at 9:12 PM

By: Jean Schwab

Video shows truth about areas controlled by drug gangs

Good article. The video is exactly what it looks like on much of the south and west sides. You have proven your point.

March 24, 2012 at 7:37 PM

By: Kimberly Bowsky

Out of "The Wire"?

Perhaps. But the mayor's virtual eye-in-the-sky is every Wellsian, Orwellian, Bradburian vision-gone-wrong. Some of us buy the line that these cameras will protect us; why are things worse, then? The road to--dare I say "fascism"--has a right lane and a left. Neither do much to reach democracy.

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