Chicago has a new Crime Prevention Information Center, which began operations without fanfare months ago, launched on $1 million in federal and state grants. CPIC is one of 58 "fusion centers" opening across the country in just the last two years. More than just a conduit for national threat warnings, Chicago's center is an example of a new trend: Rather than focus exclusively on terrorism threats, it is also using its staff and resources to work on local crime prevention. That dual mission places Chicago's center in the middle of a nationwide debate about how the federally funded fusion centers should operate. In congressional hearings this summer, some questioned whether local crime prevention detracted from the centers' original intent to prevent terrorism. Some civil liberties groups have also been critical, questioning what they say is a lack of federal oversight to safeguard privacy rights.
Anti-terror center adds crime focus, Chicago Tribune, December 28, 2007.