We're Watching

Chicago's Sears Tower, left, is shown in this Dec. 2, 2005, file photo in Chicago. Seven people were arrested, Thursday, June 22, 2006, in connection with the early stages of a plot to attack Chicago's Sears Tower, the FBI office in Miami and other buildings in the United States, a federal law enforcement official said. AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

If we have learned anything in the last five years, it is this: one man's symbol of prosperity could be another man's target. And in Chicago, the heartland's largest city, there are plenty of targets.

"We have the Sears Tower, we have a thriving financial market, we have a city that looks great," says Cortez Trotter, whom Mayor Richard Daley appointed last April to become the city's first-ever chief emergency officer.

Correspondent Erin Moriarty reports on how the city is using cameras and other methods to keep its citizens safe.

While most Americans don't want to think about potential disasters, Trotter thinks of little else. "It's something (that) a.) you don't take lightly and b.) you go home at night thinking, 'I've got to do better. I've got to do more,'" Trotter explains.

There are a number of new security measures that have been added to make the city safer.

On the streets of Chicago, you probably won't see the cameras. But these days, more and more, someone is probably watching you.

"We have people watching all types of things that 10 years ago, we might have thought there was nothing unusual about it," says Trotter.

"Operation Virtual Shield" may be the most extensive city surveillance system in the country, linking about 3,000 cameras, some of which can zoom in so close, they allow authorities to read license plate numbers.

"We've got them spaced every two blocks," Trotter explains.

"Now, if that truck is sitting there an hour from now, maybe what we should do is have a police squad car go by and just check why this truck that's been sitting for an hour is still sitting there," Trotter tells Moriarty during a demonstration of the camera system.

And more than 100 private companies are also connecting their cameras to the system. "Of course Sears is on that list, Boeing is on that list, John Hancock is on that list. What we're doing is taking their cameras and feeding them right into our system here," Trotter explains.

Chicago has had a head start over most cities – in 1995, Mayor Daley had a vision of putting police, fire and emergency responders into one building. The project cost $217 million.

"I said, just build me something that we know is gonna last. And, basically technology would change. It was controversial. Someone said it was a waste of money," Daley says. "And unfortunately, when 9/11 came, 'You're a genius.'"

It is considered state of the art. But there are still large holes in this "virtual shield."
  • Daniel Schorn

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