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Surveillance serves as a cornerstone of the evidence-gathering portion of criminal investigation necessary to prevent or prosecute criminal activity. Surveillance involves discreet, covert observation of people, places, organizations, or objects. Surveillance assists law enforcement in a number of ways, such as collecting information on suspected criminals, verifying the accuracy of criminal and/or witness statements, observing crimes in progress, protecting witnesses to criminal activity, and preventing terrorism. This entry reviews the legal cases associated with surveillance capabilities, describes the purpose of cities participating in surveillance activities, and details the widespread and controversial use of video surveillance by the city of Chicago, Illinois, including examples of how the tactic has stopped potential catastrophic attacks in the city.

Ultimately, surveillance encompasses a balancing act between the individual right to ...

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