Night camera surveillance may have helped deter a series of crimes that were planned on Instagram. Teens in Chicago, Illinois planned violent Halloween crime sprees across the Hyde Park area. An unidentified high school student said the teens organized a 'purge' via Instagram. This was probably influenced by the 2013 movie 'The Purge.' In this film, crime is legalized for 12 hours.
The Halloween crime spree began on October 29 and continued through October 31. Many of the offenders participated on multiple days. In two nights, teenagers smashed store front windows, shot at passing civilians with pellet and paintball guns, and attacked local police with eggs and other weapons. None of the crime locations reported a night camera that could have been used to deter crime incidents or identify suspects.
Chicago Police, University of Chicago Police, campus security, and private security prepared themselves for the Halloween crime spree. Several police vans were on standby and ready to transport arrested individuals in case the situation escalated.
Large crowds formed in a specific area of Hyde Park. Local authorities tried several strategies to disperse the crowds. This included police cruisers driving on sidewalks, lines of officers wielding batons and flashlights, and responding officers yelling over megaphones. If the suspects failed to disperse, they would be placed under arrest. Officers and dispatchers related information about arrests by radio transmission throughout the night. Night cameras with live surveillance were not mentioned in the article as part of the police strategy.
The crowds congregated near shopping centers, mixed-use spaces, and parking garages. When asked what places University of Chicago students should avoid during the Halloween crime spree, a police officer responded, "Everywhere."
Multiple University of Chicago students were attacked during the Halloween crime spree. One student said that two men in a car pulled up beside he and two friends. The suspects suddenly started shooting metal pellets from what the victims assumed was a BB gun. One student was shot in the back while another was hit in the back of the head. The suspects managed to draw blood from one of the victims.
There were multiple arrests during the Chicago 'purge'. Individuals were arrested for loitering, criminal trespass, reckless conduct, theft, vandalism, and aggravated battery to a police officer.
Trained operators could have been watching night cameras live to report criminal behavior to the police as it was happening. Operators can stay on the phone with police to provide details such as attire, weapons and location of thieves and vandals.
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