Do you feel like you are being watched more than ever? You are not just paranoid. Police are increasingly using electronic surveillance techniques not only to help prevent crimes but to locate and help prosecute violators.
Illinois Police Use of Drone
Police in Illinois may soon be allowed to use drones to surveil both indoor and outdoor events involving more than 100 people. This would enable the police to evaluate the size and activity of crowds and then proactively respond to public safety risks. Drone usage would be limited to observation purposes only, and they could not be armed with tear gas or projectiles.
As of the end of May 2018, both the Illinois House and Senate have approved the “ Drone Use-Large Event ” bill (SB 2562), which makes a significant change to the 2014 Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act (725 ILCS 167/). The existing Act allows police to use drones only in very specific situations, such as a search for a missing person (non-criminal) or to photograph the scene of a crime or traffic crash.
The law would continue to require annual reporting of drone use by police. For the 12 months ending June 30, 2018, a report issued by the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority shows that the Illinois State Police have six drones, while various county and city law enforcement agencies have a total of about 30.
Gunfire Detectors Expanding to More Cities
Chicago implemented ShotSpotter technology in combination with other surveillance tools in two police districts in January 2017. By the end of 2017, more than half of the city’s 22 districts had one of these “crime nerve center” systems in place, at a cost of roughly $1.5 million per district.
At the heart of the system is a network of surveillance cameras, all mapped to screens in a control room where officers can watch real-time feeds. The Shotspotter technology identifies the sound of a gunshot and maps its location. Alerts can then be sent out to the nearest on-duty officers.
A number of other Illinois cities have also invested in gunshot detection technology. For example, the city of Rockford recently announced that it is spending $310,000 on a gunfire detection system that will operate across four square miles, covering about one-sixteenth of the city.
Automatic License Plate Readers
The latest police cars not only have computers and dash cameras, but also automatic license plate readers. A roof-mounted camera will read license plates, check them against law enforcement databases, and signal the patrol officer when it gets a hit. This system has proven helpful in recovering stolen cars, identifying individuals driving on a suspended license, and locating the subjects of arrest warrants.
Talk to a Joliet Criminal Defense Attorney First
Everyone knows how social media sites have made it easy for old friends to reconnect. Electronic surveillance tools are making it that easy for the police to locate criminals. If the police are looking for you–or have already found you–in connection with a crime, talk to a seasoned Will County criminal defense lawyer before you talk to the police. We will ensure that your civil rights are protected and defend you aggressively from start to finish. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.