A pilot program foresees the installation of cameras in 100 railcars. So far, 65 cars have been equipped with these devices.
Boarding trains has become, for so many New Yorkers, an exercise in self-defense. Some carry pepper spray and most avoid eye contact.
Diane English has her own strategy.
“I’m praying. I’m praying for my round trip time,” English said.
She prays not to be the victim of an act of violence.
On Wednesday evening, the Transit Authority unveiled its new initiative, which aims to tackle crime on the subway trains themselves which, unlike platforms and stations, do not have onboard surveillance cameras.
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From now on, the MTA will install them in a hundred cars.
Richard Davey is the president of New York City Transit, which has installed cameras on 4,000 buses, but not on trains.
“In our latest customer survey data, it’s clear that our bus customers feel safer than our subway customers,” Davey said.
It comes a day after a transit officer was assaulted, patrolling alone on a 3 train, in East New York, Brooklyn.
Mayor Eric Adams had ordered the NYPD to institute solo patrols to increase visibility across the system.
The officer was unharmed, but on Wednesday the mayor changed his plan. Now cops can once again patrol in pairs, but must disperse.
“Two goals. One, pervasive, two, to make sure our officers are as safe as possible,” Adams said.
But even the biggest police department in the country can’t put a cop everywhere.
The Transit Authority hopes the addition of cameras on trains will provide another layer of security during a scary time.
Surveillance cameras will not be monitored 24/7 and will not transmit in real time. However, it can give officers the opportunity to collect crucial evidence.
They say they’re not sure the cameras will help deter criminals, but think they’ll help solve individual crimes, and ultimately they hope people will feel a little better about taking the train.
If the pilot program goes well, there are plans to install even more cameras.
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