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Why is one transit agency replacing camera decoys with real CCTV?

Posted on 10-Aug-2017 17:12:06

CCTV on BART's train (Photo courtesy of BART).Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) reveals that every train car in its fleet has now been installed with working security cameras. BART set an original goal for July 1st to bolster their existing security infrastructure network which includes cameras on platforms, inside and outside stations, as well as on police officers themselves. 669 trains have been fitted with four cameras on board amounting to an overall cost of $1.42 million. These cameras and digital recording devices provide high quality images from on-board BART trains. The train operator hopes that these new measures will reduce crime opportunities in the area.

"The project was implemented following the news that a 19-year-old man was shot dead on a crowded BART train in Oakland, 2016."

BART ( @SFBART ‏ ) has always implemented a robust network of high-quality security cameras which have been operating on platforms and outside stations for years. However, due to costs, camera housing units on nearly 500 cars had been empty shells with only blinking red lights installed in the late 1990s and early 2000s as decoys to deter vandalism.

The cameras have a useful life of six to seven years. That coincides with the time it will take for the ageing train cars to be retired from service as BART welcomes the Fleet of the Future. The incoming fleet has been designed with built-in cameras. But unlike the cameras inside stations that are streamed on monitors and viewed in real-time, the footage from the moving trains will not be instantly accessible.

“The installation of new digital cameras demonstrates our commitment to public safety,” said BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas. “These cameras will be an effective tool for solving crimes that occur on the BART system by helping investigators to identify suspects.  The devices will also serve as a deterrent to prevent some crimes from ever occurring in the first place.” 


Now that every BART car is outfitted with a working camera, any rider who becomes the victim of a crime should take note of the number of the car they were in. That number is posted above the end doors of each car. Having that number will make it much easier for investigators to track down the video associated with any report of criminal activity. 

So why is BART upgrading decoys to real CCTV cameras?

Click here to get your free copy of the next generation of rail and metro wireless communications digital guideThe project was implemented following the news that a 19-year-old man was shot dead on a crowded BART train in Oakland, 2016. Unfortunately, the decoy cameras on board the train allowed the gunman to flee from the station into the neighbourhood without being detected. BART police released several images of the gunman recorded on the camera footage in the stations but still, no arrest has been made. Police have not determined a motive for the killing, and it is not clear if the men knew each other.

Thanks to this new investment, investigators will be required to pull the footage off a digital recorder set up on each train.

More articles related with safety and security:

Pennsylvania could become the first transit system to deploy suicide prevention barriers.

Red signal faults could be reduced further thanks to Big Data software.


Topics: Rail&MetroSecurity

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Stephen Scott