Wealthy Chicago-Area Village Turns to Cameras after High-Profile Burglary

Nearly one month after intruders burglarized the Burr Ridge home of NBA player Eddy Curry, village officials this week are discussing a plan to install a video surveillance network to monitor the ritzy subdivisions in the village.

Officials said at a public safety meeting Monday night they considered the idea long before the Curry incident. Mayor Gary Grasso said he formed the Public Safety Committee to address the issue two years ago, when the village had 40 burglaries.

He said the surveillance camera system may deter thieves from working in Burr Ridge.

"We hope this will make crime go elsewhere," he said.

On July 28, several masked men made off with jewelry and cash after they broke into Curry's home and restrained him, family members and an employee with duct tape. The robbers took Curry and his wife separately around the house to point out their jewelry and cash, Burr Ridge Police Chief Herb Timm said at Monday's meeting. Timm said a neighbor who had video surveillance of the crime helped with the investigation.

Two men have been arrested and charged with the crime, and Burr Ridge police have said a third suspect is still at large.

Demorris Hill, 25, and Antoine Larkins, 28, both of Chicago, had bail set Monday at $5 million each. Both men, reputed members of a Chicago street gang, are charged with home invasion, armed robbery and aggravated kidnapping.

Hill and Larkins also are charged, along with two others, with the July 9 robbery and home invasion of NBA player Antoine Walker at his River North home in Chicago. Walker also was bound with duct tape as intruders robbed his home and stole his car. Curry and Walker, as well as others home at the time of the robberies, were not injured.

Police said evidence in the Walker robbery included footage from surveillance cameras. Though Chicago police have 480 cameras in the city, that is a fraction of the more than 2,000 cameras other agencies use for homeland security and other purposes in the city, Chicago police said.

And suburbs have been joining the trend. High crime has persuaded Maywood, Bellwood and Cicero to use cameras, while some suburbs with mostly low crime figures -- such as Buffalo Grove and Rolling Meadows -- are using them to deter criminals.

Grasso and officials at Monday's meeting agreed that deterring home invasions is the top public safety issue in Burr Ridge. Officials said they hope installing cameras will give police the technology to apprehend and deter criminals.

But if residents want that peace of mind, village officials said, they will have to pay for the cameras, likely through their monthly assessment fees. Finance Director Jerry Sapp estimates that each camera would cost about $6,500. Four cameras would be needed at each subdivision, he said. The village would pay for start-up costs, projected at $127,000.

Grasso said Monday that several subdivisions have already expressed interest in the idea. The next step for the village will be to contact each association to gauge interest. Officials will eventually send their recommendations to the Village Board.

Though village burglaries have decreased from 40 in 2005 to 24 last year, Timm said the lower numbers aren't good enough.

"Even one burglary in our village is too much," said Timm.


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