BART will spend $5.4 million to upgrade and expand its security camera system to help protect Bay Area transit riders from terrorist attacks and everyday crimes, officials said Monday. The regional rail agency will deploy the cameras in stations, on the trains, along tracks, in the Transbay Tube, in parking lots and at other facilities. The new system will make use of sophisticated software that allows the cameras to detect such suspicious activity as an unattended backpack on a boarding platform or trespassers in areas off limits to the public.
Previous investments in cameras and recording equipment at BART are credited with a 98% drop in graffiti, and the prosecution of a variety of criminals, among other benefits.
Cameras have also helped solve crimes on transit systems. In August, for example, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority used video footage to help find two suspects who assaulted a passenger. And earlier this month, cameras picked up people breaking into cars in BART's parking lot at the Coliseum/Oakland Airport Station. Police then apprehended the suspected culprits at the scene, Johnson said.
Despite privacy concerns, the investment will likely meet the approval of most Bay Area travelers who appreciate the benefits of genuine technology. And the new system is certainly far superior to BART’s other controversial anti-crime strategy…the slowing down transit thieves through the exclusive use of Susan B. Anthony and Sacajawea dollar coins in all transit ticketing and change machines.