From the Chicago Sun-Times: A recent study on Chicago’s blue-light cameras gives the surveillance cameras a mixed review, saying they appear to have prevented crime in one neighborhood but not in another — and that the video quality is usually poor and rarely leads to a conviction on its own.

The Urban Institute found crime decreased more than 12% in one study area from 2001 to 2006 but didn’t fall at all in the second area. One theory for the disparity is there were 53 cameras per square mile in the area that saw crime decrease, versus 36 per square mile in the crime-static area.

Still, researchers said the cameras were worth their cost. The city spent $6.8 million to install and operate the 2,000 blue-light cameras. But for every dollar spent, the societal benefit was $4, according to the Washington-based Urban Institute, whose study also looked at cameras in Washington and Baltimore.

The study also looked at how valuable the blue-light cameras are to police and prosecutors when they take a case to court.
Officers have made more than 5,000 camera-related arrests since 2006, but prosecutors said other evidence is normally needed to win a conviction, at least in part because video quality is poor. Read the entire article here.