UI uses hundreds of cameras to investigate crime; more on the way

UI uses hundreds of cameras to investigate crime; more on the way

URBANA — Be sure to smile the next time you walk through the University of Illinois campus.

There's a good chance you are being watched on a UI police camera.

UI police have increased the number of surveillance cameras monitoring activity in the campus area from 13 in 2008 to 900 today, and the police department plans on adding another 200 cameras before the end of 2013.

UI Police Chief Jeff Christensen said the effort is part of the department's efforts to improve the force's use of technology, including the installation of additional cameras around the campus.

"It has always been our intention to try to cover as much of the campus as we can," said UI police Detective Tim Hetrick, who has led the department's security camera project. "The cameras help us to solve reported crimes that couldn't be solved any other way."

Hetrick said UI police placed its first 13 cameras in 2008 in food storage facilities on campus out of concern about theft.

"Things had a tendency to walk out the doors," he said.

In 2009, after the cameras were credited for reducing the number of food thefts, Hetrick said, UI police asked for and got money from the chancellor's office to pay for 18 exterior cameras along campus streets that police believed criminals often used.

"Since then our use of cameras has grown incredibly," he said.

Hetrick estimates the university has spent more than $2 million on surveillance cameras since 2008, with the lion's share of the money provided by campus departments seeking increased security.

"The individual departments are responsible for paying for the cameras and service," he said. "But it has been a really good investment."

A UI security camera is credited for helping to identify a man in connection with a robbery outside a campus coffee shop in October 2011.

Dennis H. Boston IV, now 20, who listed an address in the 500 block of East Daniel Street, was charged with armed robbery and aggravated robbery after he allegedly robbed a 48-year-old Champaign man of his iPad outside the Espresso Royale, 602 E. Daniel St., C.

Assistant States Attorney Dan Clifton said UI police had video from security cameras that showed two men approaching the victim as he sat at a table and one grabbing his iPad. When the victim reacted, one of them showed him a gun.

Clifton said the video showed the robber going into an apartment at 510 E. Daniel St., the same building that Boston listed as his address.

Police also recovered the iPad from a man who said he bought it from Boston.

"We recovered the iPad within a few hours after the video came out because the person who bought the iPad contacted police and said, 'I think I just bought the stolen iPad.'"

Boston's next court appearance has been set for April 23.

Just last month UI security cameras were used to determine that a Feb. 7 Dumpster fire in the south parking lot of the Oak Street Library Facility, 809 S. Oak St., was an arson.

While the initial cause of the fire was listed as undetermined, police detectives doing a follow-up investigation found a security video showing a person lighting the fire.

Hetrick said UI police have also used videos at the Activities and Recreation Center to arrest people who steal possessions from people exercising there.

"We often have no suspect information until we go back and look at the videos," Hetrick said.

Hetrick said UI police worked with crime analysts from the Champaign and Urbana police departments to target locations to place surveillance cameras.

"Some of the areas that are most traveled by the criminal element are locations that we looked at," Hetrick said.

Following a series of reports about intruders sneaking into university residence halls to spy on women in restrooms and showers, Hetrick said, UI police placed security cameras at the various entrances and exits.

"The incidents suddenly stopped after that," Hetrick said. "I'd like to think the presence of the cameras has prevented crimes from taking place."

After the university libraries reported a series of thefts of DVDs from their collections, Hetrick said, UI police stepped up the installation of cameras in those buildings.

"We got identification off the video footage and made arrests," he said.

Hetrick said the cameras so far have been to investigate reported or suspected crimes.

"We don't have any active monitoring," he said. "Nobody sits there and monitors all the cameras. Unfortunately we don't have the manpower to sit and watch.

"We go back after the fact and look for evidence after the crime has occurred."

The images from all 900 cameras are sent to a centralized database on the university campus. The images are stored on a server for a minimum of 30 days.

"We don't lose video a week after a crime," he said. "If some images turn out to be evidence, we record them on a DVD and place the DVD in our evidence room."

UI police officers can access those images from computers across the campus.

"I or any of the police officers can access all 900 cameras from just about any place I'm at on campus," he said.

Hetrick said the type of camera used varies by location and can cost anywhere from $300 to $3,000 each, depending on whether they are inside or outside, the amount of lighting available at the desired location and whether infrared lighting is needed.

"In certain locations we use a camera called the Lightfinder that provides outstanding images in poor lighting areas," Hetrick said. "It's an awesome camera that can find light, bring it into the camera and actually give you a color picture at night."

Hetrick designs the locations for cameras and the views they provide.

"I consider the types of crime we are trying to prevent, the lighting conditions and what camera will best see what we need to see," he said. "We want to make sure they are out of vandalism reach so they aren't tampered with, but we also want to make sure they are at a height that gives us the best view." 

Areas targeted for cameras include building entrances and exits, routes frequently traveled by students to and from campus and to and from campus area bars.

While analog security cameras used by some area businesses often provide out-of-focus images, Hetrick said, the university uses more sophisticated equipment.

"Focus is a problem with the older analog security systems. There's no zooming in after the fact," Hetrick said. "We use Internet protocol systems that work like a digital camera. With the Internet protocol systems, you can dig deeper into the picture and bring it out a little bit. We can make a picture larger or more clear.

"It isn't as easy as you see on CSI, but our images can be enhanced."

Hetrick said a university policy prevents the cameras from being used for non-police purposes.

"We have a policy that is very cut and dried about what we can and cannot do," Hetrick said. "For example, the cameras can't be used by human resources to check when employees come to work, and the cameras can't be used to look inside windows. They are for crime."

He said one emphasis for 2013 is to install additional cameras on Green Street between First and Wright streets.

"It's a major thoroughfare, and it is a hot spot for potential crime," he said. "These cameras are for the safety of the public and the students and staff. That's really what it's all about."

Security cameras on the UI campus

Year  Cameras
2008 13
2009 200
2010 400
2011 650
2012 900
2013 1,100 (planned)

Source: University of Illinois Police Department

 

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Local Yocal wrote on March 17, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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Just a few questions, on behalf of Our Founding Fathers' concerns over unwarranted searches and fair trials,...

Does the facial appearance of Dennis H. Boston, IV  match that of the facial appearance of who is videotaped robbing the guy at the Expresso Royale video? How will a jury be presented this information to believe the person on the video is the same person in court at trial?  The video, released to the public, showed the camera to be across the street up on a rooftop somewhere, and the images of the participants were small and unidentifiable beyond "White guy, Black guy," along with the color and type of clothing.  

How did the Oct. '11 Espresso Royale video get released to the public media outlets? Who makes that decision to go public? Where is the video now? Can the public still access it? If it remains in the public domain, what affect will that have on Boston's trial should he choose to have one?

"After the university libraries reported a series of thefts of DVDs from their collections, UI police Detective Tim Hetrick said, UI police stepped up the installation of cameras in those buildings."We got identification off the video footage and made arrests," he said." Got identification how? What were the video images compared to that determined the identity of the person caught on videotape? Past Booking photos? Outstanding Warrants? Driver's Licenses? Who was arrested in those cases of the thefts of the DVD's? Was there a conviction in a court of law? 

While the initial cause of the fire was listed as undetermined, police detectives doing a follow-up investigation found a security video showing a person lighting the fire. Has there been an arrest for this Feb. 7, dumpster fire on Oak St.? If not, why not? Again, what are the video images being compared to, to get an identification of the person?

How many total arrests since 2008 have there been attributable to the cameras? How many convictions since 2008 are attributable to the cameras?

The images from all 900 cameras are sent to a centralized database on the university campus. The images are stored on a server for a minimum of 30 days." Who has access to this database? Can the public be given a list of names of all those who have access to this centralized database? Do assistant state's attorneys and defense attorneys have subpoena power to receive copies of the videos regarding a particular incident? If an arrest is made based on evidence collected by the video camera, can the video be retreived after the 30-day is lapsed? 

"We don't have any active monitoring," he said. "Nobody sits there and monitors all the cameras. Unfortunately we don't have the manpower to sit and watch." "Unfortunately?" So....it would be better to have someone monitoring the cameras at all times? Is the U of I Police Department planning to submit a bugetary request for additional staff to be hired to be active monitors, sometime in the near future?

"We don't lose video a week after a crime," he said. "If some images turn out to be evidence, we record them on a DVD and place the DVD in our evidence room." Can the media and members of the public FOIA for copies of these DVD's? After a verdict has been reached? After a verdict of Not Guilty? What if a member of the public knows they are potentially in one of the videos? Can that person FOIA for the video? What happens to the videos after a verdict has been reached, discarded? 

UI police officers can access those images from computers across the campus. "I or any of the police officers can access all 900 cameras from just about any place I'm at on campus," he said." Can the U of I police allow other local police departments see the videos if they have a case they are working on? Can insurance companies who believe an accident they have an interest in may have been caught on camera, have access to the videos for claims purposes? Can the public have a list of the names of all U of I police officers and other personnel who have access to these videos? 

Hetrick designs the locations for cameras and the views they provide. "Some of the areas that are most traveled by the criminal element are locations that we looked at. These cameras are for the safety of the public and the students and staff. That's really what it's all about." So...if the cameras are beneficial,... (and there's no denying that there presence seems to scare off potential crimes from happening,)...are any other locations around town being planned for to adopt this surveillance system? There are other high crime areas in town, is Hetrick planning to install cameras around Garden Hills, Market Place Mall, the high schools, Southeast Urbana, other places where significant criminal activity is occuring? Answer: "These cameras are for the safety of the students and staff,... [and members of the public who happen to be in the campus area."] Isn't that a violation of the 14th Amendment to equal protection by law enforcement? Why is the crime against U of I personnel prioritized over the rest of the taxpayers? Can members of the public request a camera be placed in their neighborhood? Who else besides Hetrick is authorized to choose where the cameras go and how the system is to be applied? 

"We use Internet protocol systems that work like a digital camera. With the Internet protocol systems, you can dig deeper into the picture and bring it out a little bit. We can make a picture larger or more clear. "It isn't as easy as you see on CSI, but our images can be enhanced." Can the tapes also be altered with photoshop? What guarantees does the public have, (in light of how Urbana Police Officer Kurt Hjort used the METCAD dispatch system to find the home address of a convenience store clerk and went to her house and raped her.) that the videos aren't tampered with to match likenesses of people who weren't there at the scene depicted? Can an independent forensic audit be done on the videotape to ensure it has not been spliced, added to, or changed in anyway? By whom would this forensic audit be done?

Since the U of I Police Department released the number of cameras installed, Hetrick told Tim Mitchell approximately where they were installed, will The News-Gazette be allowed to publish the location, using a map, of EVERY camera feeding a U of I, tax-supported, centralized database? 

 

 

 

 

 

Local Yocal wrote on March 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm
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More fascinating questions about the Boston case:

Can The News-Gazette get access to the Oct. '11 Espresso Royale video, and show the public again the two robbers, one of whom snatches the I-pad from the table of the victim, and as the victim begins to get up in protest and give possible chase, another robber displays something tucked in his pants, seating the victim immediately out of concern for his safety, so we were told.

Why wasn't the other robber apprehended in the Espresso Royale video? Why only one arrest? 

On Nov. 3, 2011 Boston is charged with a Class X felony, and his bond was set at $125,000. Why was Boston's bond modified on Dec. 3, 2011 to allow him to leave the state?

Why has Assistant State's Attorney Sarah Carlson and the judge presiding in Courtroom A, allowed Dennis The Class X Menace, caught right there on camera (if the cameras are foolproof;) 9 CONTINUANCES since January 17, 2012?

Will The News-Gazette be allowed to show The Espresso Royale video after a verdict (plea) is reached?

As previously reported, Oct. 10, 2011, annonymously by the News-Gazette, The video allegedly may be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BH8I-aTfiDM and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H6BgWecVWE.

 

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 17, 2013 at 4:03 pm

Oh my..... is there a conspiracy?  The Crime Stoppers videos showing shoplifters might be a grave injustice.  Bank videos of bank robbers might be invasive.  With everyone carrying phones with cameras, the potential for conspiracies abound.  Wonder how much of YouTube videos violate privacy rights?  Mitt Romney had every right to be outraged for his secret speech to donors being secretly videoed.  What is this world coming to with video cameras taping wrongdoing?  

Local Yocal wrote on March 17, 2013 at 5:03 pm
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Is that the only thing the cameras record, wrongdoing? Is it a "conspiracy theory" to insist on Constitutional due process when police collect evidence?

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Evidence maybe fingerprints, DNA, video, audio, witnesses, written material, etc.  Evidence maybe kept for extended periods of time until all offenders are caught, and found guilty.  Fingerprints from a crime maybe kept for years following a crime until the perpetrator, and accomplices are arrested.  They maybe kept longer for appeals.

I am really not sure what your complaint happens to be regarding security cameras.  Are you complaining about the one individual named in the robbery; or are you complaining about video security?  In regard to our forefathers, and the constitution; they obviously had no idea how technology would advance.  The attorney for the defense has access to videos of his client if they are to be used as evidence.  

After two comments following each other, your complaint still is not understood.  What is your specific complaint regarding video security? 

Bulldogmojo wrote on March 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

If we are looking out for criminal activity, they should include a video camera with sound in every administrators office and meeting room that feeds directly to the ethics office. 

rsp wrote on March 20, 2013 at 11:03 am

I liked that. Directly to the point. 

Local Yocal wrote on March 17, 2013 at 11:03 pm
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The question is: are the video cameras subject to public scrutiny? Are the videos government documents that can be publicly disseminated? Who is watching, can the public know exactly who is behind the monitors? Our founders did understand government intrusion, unwarranted government searches. Just because the technology is fancier pantsier, doesn't mean a citizen should automatically be content to be watched at all times. And if the cameras are effective at enhancing public safety, then can we spread the love around? Why not protect other areas in the city where there be high rates of crimes?

Very important is how are they using the video footage to identify people? What are the videos being compared to that gives the police a 100% match?  

With regards to the specific Espresso Royale video of Oct. '11, that video, if you saw it, showed no clear identifying facial features. You would be concerned about it, if police showed up at your door and said, "You sort of look like that robber on the video," when all you had in common with the videotaped robber was the same race, similar haircut and a matching shirt. Enough to convict?

Another interesting thing is Assistant State's Attorney Dan Clifton claims : "the video showed the robber going into an apartment at 510 E. Daniel St., the same building that Boston listed as his address." Not the video that was given to the media shortly after the incident. The camera across the street didn't rotate, and what the public saw was the two robbers simply walking off-camera down the street. Where's Clifton getting this idea Boston is shown walking into an apartment?   

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

I cannot answer your questions regarding Boston's arrest.  I can state that we are videoed daily in our lives.  We are videoed in stores, parking lots, banks, on streets, and in buildings.  The paranoia of "who is watching", "who is behind the monitors", and how the videos are "publically disseminated" does not apply either in a criminal activity, or the practicality of the vast numbers of videos.  It is part of every day life around the world.  With cell phones having the capability to video, there is a great reduction of privacy.  That cannot be avoided.

It seems that your focusing on Boston's situation rather than the use of video cameras being prevalent.  Of course, you expectedly throw in an amount of conspiracy theory also

rsp wrote on March 20, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Did it ever occur to you that maybe they were picked up on more than one camera? And that they followed them by camera to the building where one of them lived? I know that's very complicated but if you think about it I'm sure you'll see that's probably what happened. 

Local Yocal wrote on March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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Yes. Why didn't that occur to prosecutor Dan Clifton who has told The News-Gazette twice now, ".....the video showed Boston going into the 510 E. Daniel apartment.?" You'd think if you are selling $2,000,000 dollars of security equipment to the taxpayers, you'd want to brag on how multiple cameras were able to follow a suspect.

Why doesn't Clifton mention the existence of multiple videos of the suspect, and why didn't the police release the second video back in Oct. '11 when they were soliciting our help to find the suspects? And if multiple cameras tracked the suspects, where is the video trail of the second suspect?

bb wrote on March 20, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Local Yocal, answers to alot of your questions are in the UI security camera policy:

http://www.cam.illinois.edu/viii/VIII-1.5.htm

They hold the images 30-120 days unless they are needed as evidence.  There are lots of guidelines there about camera placement to attempt to provde privacy.  The sheer number though makes me feel like I'm being watched anywhere on campus.  I'm not sure I feel any safer either.

 

Local Yocal wrote on March 18, 2013 at 11:03 am
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Instead of inserting ideas I haven't claimed, like a conspiracy theory, why don't you stay honest and say, "I didn't see the Espresso Royale Video; and I don't like Local Yocal's long responses, and only skimmed all the questions regarding accountability and long-range videos for suspect identification." 

But if you do want an ironic conspiracy to scoff at, don't let me disappoint you, enjoy:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mNlJYSIzjoU

 

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Videos provide leads.  Witnesses provide the real evidence.  The witness who stated that Boston sold him the laptop coupled with the sighting of a person going into the apartment building are the possible evidence.  I did watch the Espresso Royale Video.  I was looking at the clothing, the stature, and the gait of the two men.  If one of the men matched the sighting of the man entering the apartment building, that is a lead. 

Yes; I do scoff at the many conspiracy theories that you have presented in the past on this article, and others.  You utilize YouTube videos in most of them.  YouTube videos are produced on all types of opinions, events, and entertainment.  Two people with opposing views can refute each other with YouTube videos.  I find it amusing that you complain about the use of security camera videos, and yet provide YouTube videos supporting your various theories.

Again; are you making a point regarding Boston's judicial situation, or are you opposing security cameras on campus? 

SaintClarence27 wrote on March 20, 2013 at 2:03 pm

Basically, the crux of his argument is either an invasion of privacy, an illegal search, or some other nebulous due process claim. I'll address each in turn.

1) Invasion of privacy - there is no invasion of privacy by being videotaped in a public place. Since you don't have an expectation of privacy to begin with, that is not an invasion of said privacy. It's a public place. There is no privacy in a public place - with certain exceptions, like restrooms.

2) It's not an illegal search, because it's not a search at all. You're presenting yourself and your actions in a public place. If it were a witness, and not a camera, would you claim that questioning the witness was an illegal search? How about placing officers that could potentially view crimes and testify about them on streetcorners? It's not a search.

3) Due process is determined in court, not during the placement of cameras. Placing cameras does not affect due process. Same with suspect identification - it will be the prerogative of the court.

4) Accountability - the accountability is similarly determined in court, according to the rules of evidence. Otherwise it can't be used.

Local Yocal wrote on March 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm
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"If one of the men matched the sighting of the man entering the apartment building, that is a lead."

As you recall looking at the video, the video does not show either robber going into an apartment building at 510 E. Daniel. The video as shown is corroborating evidence for the later sale of the l-pad (assuming it is the one owned by the victim and if the person selling it resembles the appearance of one of the two robbers caught on video.) Again, how prosecutor Clifton can claim one video showed one of the robbers going into an apartment building, does not make sense. There is either a second video not shown to the public, or Clifton is telling The News-Gazette's Tim Mitchell an inaccurate statement.

As you remember looking at the video, the camera was on a rooftop across the street, and the images of the faces were undetectable. Lead? Maybe. Evidence beyond a reasonable doubt? about as good as the cloudy memories of eye witnesses in terms of identifying the perps. "Help us identify the two dots," is what the public was given in Oct. '11.

The cameras caught the act very well, but does not help much with identifying and apprehension. (a common complaint by law enforcement of the bank and convenience store cameras) Boston and Nepperman are the only two cases I'm aware of that yielded an arrest after the videos were publicly disseminated.

The Espresso video may have assisted in finding the person who bought the I-pad, who claims it was Boston who sold it to him. It seems at this time, the newness of video being released to the public of actual crimes does a great job of heightening everyone's paranoia, or stereotypes, or outrage; and witnesses to the incident can't hide from the public celebrity. 

When you consider the millions of hours of collected video footage, and you have less than a dozen arrests since 2008, the question becomes how great is this $2,000,000 investment when MAP Grants are now on the decline, resources, faculty are being downsized. Isn't Det. Hetrick tracking how many arrests have been generated by the cameras since 2008?

Maybe the camera's benefit is the crime they deter by their mere presence. We don't know. If so, why haven't other high crime areas been identified and the system deployed there?

Too bad you didn't look at the YouTube video, it was not a homemade piece of schlock you rightly avoid: it was a real journalistic TV newscast of a real legal case in Robinson, IL you would have laughed at since you don't expect privacy in the public way. Guess who does expect privacy?

I'm not necessarily opposing cameras, I'm questioning their effectiveness and inquiring whether the public can monitor them too and have oversight over who is watching the recordings.

Thanks bb, for the link. Very informative.

 

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 20, 2013 at 7:03 pm

The witness, not the video camera, stated that he bought the i-pad from Boston.  An i-pad would have identifying information in it showing it belonged to the victim.  There is no "assuming" about that.  The witness "claims" that Boston sold it to him.  Are you implying that the witness perjured himself?

You are diverting the issue by comparing the cost of the cameras to the decline in MAP Grants along with faculty being downsized.  That is not the subject matter being discussed.  The reason for the additional cameras is to have the "system deployed" to "other high crime areas".  Your diverting again with the question why the cameras are not there now.  The YouTube video maybe a "real legal case"; but it does not address the addition of video cameras on campus to reduce crime.  No, I do not "expect privacy" in public places.  They are "public places".  Your "questioning" the effectiveness, and "inquiring whether the public can monitor them too and have oversight over who is watching the recordings".  They are being monitored by people associated with law enforcement.  No, the public cannot monitor them too.  Law enforcement is trying to maintain a balance between public safety, and individual privacy.  You can watch all of the YouTube videos you please without watching campus videos of the public.  If you are arrested for a crime in a public area, your attorney can be provided with the videos that pertain to your defense.

It would appear though that your comments are regarding a conspiracy on the part of law enforcement, and public prosecutors toward Boston; not video cameras on campus.  

Local Yocal wrote on March 21, 2013 at 8:03 am
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 Are you implying that the witness perjured himself?"

Not necessarily, but I always keep a skeptical eye when local law enforcement talks to the media. Too many times in recent history has the media been sold a pack of half-truths, outright lies, and deceptions by law enforcement. Everything is "alleged" when reading any N-G crime story. I wouldn't assume, "An i-pad would have identifying information in it showing it belonged to the victim," until you saw it presented at trial.

I've met the victim in this case, and he didn't strike me as the type who would fabricate anything. How police came up with the person who bought the I-pad later is still a mystery, and because of the R.T. Finney's, the Kurt Hjort's, the Sgt. Myers', the Lisa Staples', the Sara Garrett's, the John Murphy's, and the entire police department's loathing to have any civilian oversight, ect. I trust very little what they have to say to the media. Especially when they are attempting to sell something to the public, like thousands of expensive video cameras rolling 24/7. By the way, the victim doesn't remember seeing a gun in the second guy's pants, he assumed it was "some type of weapon," but isn't sure it was a gun. It's been law enforcement who has filled in the blanks for him in the media by asserting it was a gun, (not seen on video either) and have charged Boston with a Class X armed robbery with a firearm, despite no gun recovered on Boston's person. 

The Espresso Royale story may eventually check out to be true as told, but until it does at trial or Boston confesses, I hold a healthy doubt. There are already some anomalies to wonder about, one of which is that a 19 year-old who has no priors, no job, is a Parkland student, and was alleged to be fencing stolen I-pads, has the money to pay for a private attorney out of Chicago, and fork over $12,500 cash upfront to get out of jail. Granted, he may be the beneficiary of a family that loves him very much, but it is strange how light the prosecution has been in this case. Really? 9 continuances, Sarah Carlson? Really? You've got Boston pinned against the wall facing a minimum of 21 years, and Boston doesn't snitch out the second robber?

I think we have to always keep in mind that this is the same law enforcement community that argued against exonerating DNA evidence that cleared Andre Davis of wrongdoing of a 1980 murder, and Davis had to serve an extra 8 years in Tamms solitary confinement while waiting for the Champaign County State's Attorney's office to finally back down. And still there is no warrant issued for the perp whose DNA did match that at the 1980 murder scene (see News-Gazette columnist Jim Dey's series on the case.) Automatically assuming law enforcement always tell the truth is not a healthy stance and there is a former Supreme Court Justice law clerk who recently penned an editorial as to why that is: 

 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/why-police-officers-lie-under-oath.html?_r=0

Therefore, your assertion that: "[The cameras] are being monitored by people associated with law enforcement. No, the public cannot monitor them too." does not enhance public safety in my opinion.

 

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Local Yocal wrote on March 21, 2013 at 9:03 am
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"The witness, not the video camera, stated that he bought the i-pad from Boston."

According to prosecutor Dan Clifton (?):

"We recovered the iPad within a few hours after the video came out because the person who bought the iPad contacted police and said, 'I think I just bought the stolen iPad.'" 

According to the article above, the video's public release is credited with finding the witness.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 21, 2013 at 10:03 am

Not having a conspiracy theory every few days must be uncomfortable.

SaintClarence27 wrote on March 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm

According to the article above, the video helped find "a person connected with" the robbery. It could be speaking of a witness or the robber himself.

OR, the person who bought the iPad saw the video and realized the iPad was stolen. I don't think the two are contradictory.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Good points; but your using logic.  Facts, and logic do not allow preconceived theories to flourish.

Local Yocal wrote on March 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm
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For those who have no experience with the local law enforcement community, it's understandable you would readily accept what they say. For those of us who have had family members go through the meat grinder that is the Champaign County Criminal Justice System, you learn to question every thing.  

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Were they innocent, or guilty of the crime?

Local Yocal wrote on March 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm
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For many in the county, guilt is all that matters, and compassion dries up quickly upon a verdict of guilt. Nevermind the overwhelmed public defenders' office unlikely to provide for an adequate defense, whatever happens after the courts grab hold is often written off as the fault of the "perp." "Don't do the crime; if you can't do the time," is the adage that justifies the extraordinary penalties, the brutality of the jails, the expense of the fines and fees. Ignored is the high cost on the taxpayer. It costs more to house someone in jail than to put someone through college.

What goes undetected, even re-elected, is the harshness, the arrogance, the dishonesty of a system that has little forgiveness, little rehabilitative value, and seems intent on only expanding for a few jobs at the astronomical expense of the tax pie. Nearly $64 million tax dollars is spent per year on law enforcement in this county, and it fails half the time. We carry 200 people-a-night in the county jail, and over 100 of them will re-offend. Average prison sentence is 1.9 years. While in jail, rarely anything positive happens. The person is spit out to the streets in less time than you would imagine; more traumatized, less employable, with fewer opportunities and banned from most forms of aid and sympathy. Like the public schools, what is the product the taxpayers get for their money?

Who cares, they're guilty.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0atL1HSwi8

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm

So they were guilty, and your angry with the "system"?

Local Yocal wrote on March 23, 2013 at 10:03 am
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Champaign Co. Circuit Clerk                 $ 6,000,000

Sheriff Department's 2013 Budget-   $ 4,715,469

State's Attorney's 2013 Budget-          $ 2,137,131

Correctional Centers' 2013 Budget-   $ 5,909,099

Public Defender's 2013 Budget-          $ 1,063,865

Champaign Co. Circuit Court                $ 1,044,566

Juvenile Detention Center                    $ 1,642,877

Court Services                                              $ 1,471,466

County Police Training Project              $    226,100

FY13 Interest on old constr.
bonds for Courthouse and
Youth Detention Center                           $    400,125
 
Principal and interest on
Courthouse renovation in
2000                                                                 $  1,160,000

Principal and interest on
Courthouse addition and               
new Juvenile Detention
Center in 1999                                              $  1,310,100

Principal and interest on
Old Courthouse and Bell
Clock Tower from 2007                              $     455,764

Court Diversion services                          $       70,600

Total on The Champaign County Budget for FY2013: $27,607,162

Champaign Police Department       $ 24,404,170

Urbana Police Department           $  9,545,780

Rantoul Police Department           $  3,850,044

University Police Department                          ?

Mahomet Police Department                           ?

Illinois State Police, Dist. 10                             ?

Police Training Institute                                     ?

Total Estimate for FY2013:                                       $61,407,156

Current Outstanding Criminal Justice Debt:

Courthouse and Juvenile Detention Bonds from 2000                $  8,506,813

Courthouse Renovation from 2000                                                      $  6,245,000

Courthouse Addition and Juvenile Detention Ctr. 1999             $ 24,142,067

2007 Old Courthouse and Bell Clock Tower                                       $  6,365,113

     TOTAL DEBT:                                                                                               $  45,258,993

 

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 23, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Wow.. a lot of money could be saved if there was no public safety, or laws enforced!

What is your point regarding the costs?  Are you advocating no police, or justice?  Just let the criminals do their thing?

Local Yocal wrote on March 23, 2013 at 6:03 pm
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"Are you advocating no police, or justice?  Just let the criminals do their thing?"

I'm advocating for justice, police prioritizing their patrols to actually be about safety, thereby enhancing their safety, and criminals not doing their thing, particularly that violent thing. A reinvestment of the tax dollar toward sane policy, effective policy, and policies that actually deal with problems would lessen the incidents of crime than the current doing the same thing over and over expecting what? I doubt the criminal justice system actually wants a different result. It would be bad for business.

A lot of money could be saved if priorities were set. Ending the drug war would be a good start. Cracking down on pedophiles, sexual assault, and domestic batterers without regard to race and socio-economic status, would be a step toward justice. Jobs, drug treatment, and mental health treatment would go a long way toward preventing crime from ever happening. Instead, they want to videotape us in the public way to catch us after the fact.

For all that money spent, the taxpayers get increased poverty (now at 24% below the poverty line) increased disenfranchisement, the same amount of crime, more prosecutions, more imprisonments, more broken families, more orphans, more racism/white supremacy. It's time another approach was had. What's going on now ain't working.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 23, 2013 at 7:03 pm

"more racism/white supremacy"?  Doubts that the criminal justice system actually wants different results?  "It would be bad for business"?

Ah, yes.... more conspiracy theories of course.  I am sure that you will provide more YouTube videos to prove your point.   "It must be true.  I saw it on YouTube."

Local Yocal wrote on March 24, 2013 at 6:03 am
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Kind of like the conspiracy theory that News-Gazette columnist Jim Dey wrote about yesterday.