Security cameras already ubiquitous on New York’s streets will soon be installed in all of the city’s nearly 6,400 subway cars as authorities work to restore commuters’ confidence in the system’s safety.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority plans to install two cameras in each car of the train as part of a project expected to take three years, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday as she announced the effort at the train station in Queens.
“Do you think Big Brother is watching you on the subway?” You are absolutely right,” said Hochul, a Democrat. “It’s our goal to get the word out that we’ll be monitoring activities on the subway trains and that will give people peace of mind.”
Anticipating possible privacy or civil liberties issues, Hochul said: “If you’re concerned about that, the best answer is not to commit any crime on the subway.”
The New York City subway system already has over 10,000 surveillance cameras at 472 stations that have played a role in solving major crimes, although the system is not working flawlessly.
CCTV footage was critical in identifying a suspect after a man shot and killed 10 people on a subway train in Brooklyn in April, but the MTA system was unable to capture footage from the cameras on the platform where the alleged shooter escaped from the smoke. filled train.
Like most security cameras currently installed throughout New York City, cameras installed in subway cars will not be tracked in real time. But Hochul said they would still be valuable as a deterrent because people would know they were being recorded and that the footage could be useful to investigators trying to solve crimes.
Even now, police routinely use footage from private cameras mounted on buildings to document suspects’ movements after the crime, although they often lose track if someone gets on the train.
The MTA received approximately $5.5 million in state and federal funding to purchase and install the cameras. Approximately 200 cameras will be installed monthly and the project will end sometime in 2025.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York City subway system had largely shaken its 1980s reputation for being dirty and criminal, though complaints of overcrowding and reliability persisted. But after the pandemic devastated the rider system, many New Yorkers felt unsafe underground again.
In an MTA passenger survey released this week, nearly 70% said there were too few police officers in the subway system; just over 50% said they felt safe or completely safe at stations and on trains.
Hochul’s Republican opponent in the race for governor, U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin, attacked her during his campaign for being too soft on crime.
Passenger traffic on the metro system remains below its pre-pandemic peak, but passengers have been returning in greater numbers recently, with numbers exceeding more than 70% of pre-COVID-19 volume on some days.
So far this year, the number of crimes reported on public transport in the city is on average slightly lower than before the pandemic.
(Maysoon Khan is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues.)
Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.
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