Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!


By Larry Sachs

I hope this article will provide you with an aggregation of info (almost one-stop shopping) for installing private home and business security cameras to prevent and reduce opportunistic crime.

Two rather obvious crime prevention truisms: 1) anyone looking for “easy pickings” to exploit (e.g., home burglaries, package thefts, street robberies, shoplifting) would rather not be caught in the act on video (even if masked); and 2) providing CPD with access to private home and business video of criminal behavior can really help their investigative efforts and clearance rates. 

So – the visible presence of home security cameras can both deter and help solve crime, and it’s reasonable to believe that if a block or street or a neighborhood is well-covered by discreet but visible security cameras and appropriate signage, word might get out that this is not the place to prey upon or to visit in search for easy targets.

I don’t have expertise on home security camera installation, but do want to help you research what’s possible by sharing these impartial (so far as I know) links:

Here is CPD’s excellent website, including FAQs and responses, on how to register your private home or business security camera with CPD: Public Camera Registration (

If you weren’t already aware, the City of Chicago just announced a rebate program that will start soon and extend into 2024 to reimburse (up to $450) residents and businesses for installing private security cameras, outdoor motion sensor lighting, and GPS trackers for cars. Program details haven’t been released, but here’s a WTTW article describing this new initiative: City Launching New Rebate Program to Help Cover Costs of Security Cameras at Homes, Businesses | Chicago News | WTTW.

And I’d be remiss in an LCA article on private security cameras if I didn’t also provide a link to an OEMC (Office of Emergency Management) program to connect private “exterior cameras on the public way” to OEMC, not so much for crime prevention and investigative support (though CPD can access such video footage to help solve crimes) but mainly to help the City prepare for and respond to emergency situations (e.g., natural disasters; terrorist incidents): City of Chicago : Link Your Cameras into OEMC (Private Sector Camera Initiative)

Finally, because of a bewildering array of available home security cameras and devices, maybe it would be wise to get professional support for your technology and installation decisions?

Please stay safe, get to know your neighbors, and take good care of each other!