According to an exclusive interview in the NY Post, the MTA has revealed that “Transit officials have installed ‘hidden’ surveillance cameras on 65 train cars in the past six weeks as part of a pilot initiative to test the technology’s effectiveness in solving transit crimes.” MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber later confirmed the installation of these cameras in a press release.
Though the cameras won’t be monitored 24/7, the intention of their installation is to capture evidence in the case of crimes that cops can later observe and reference. “What we want everybody to know is if you prey on New Yorkers, if you do something in the subway, we will get your picture, and you will be, we’ll find you, and the NYPD is going to arrest you. And we’ve had success with 10,000 cameras in the system elsewhere. Now we’re adding it to the inside of subway cars,” shared Lieber.
Each train car will have two cameras installed and hidden from public view. “[The cameras] will record a loop for a period of time, and if there’s an incident on a train, we can get into that camera and get video,” shared New York City Transit president Richard Davey in a recent interview with the New York Post.
Davey shared that eventually riders will be made aware of the fact that they are being recorded, which will hopefully help to sway “would-be criminals” and decrease crime rates.
With 65 onboard surveillance cameras already installed across the fleet, the pilot program’s goal is to reach 100, and increase from there if all goes well.
The safety initiative follows the devastating shooting in Sunset Park this past April, after no security footage was available from within train cars. Beyond installing more surveillance cameras inside train cars, Davey shared that the MTA’s latest model (the R211, that is still in testing) would be made with cameras already installed.
According to the MTA, a previous camera-pilot was started a few years back, but now, many of those cameras remain nonactive.
MTA subway stations were only recently fitted with surveillance cameras in response to a rise in crime that followed the pandemic. This new pilot program hopes to increase safety and security of New Yorkers using public transit, and its impact will be closely monitored and assessed.