Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
October 11, 2022

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The Video Surveillance Report 2022

Video surveillance

Security cameras to be installed on every New York subway car

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit has announced it will be investing $5.5 million to install security cameras across the entire fleet of its subway cars.

The move, which is designed to enhance security coverage and increase passenger confidence in the safety of the subway system in New York, was announced in late September by Governor Kathy Hochul.

NewYorkCity-SubwayCameras-Transport-22Two cameras will be installed in each of the subway cars, after a pilot programme saw cameras installed in 100 cars. Over 7,000 cameras will be purchased for the cars themselves, while another 3,800 (approximate) will be used to expand the coverage around the city’s subway stations.

Funding from the Subway Action Plan will contribute $3.5 million towards the project, with the additional $2 million coming from the Urban Area Security Initiative federal grant programme. The NYCT’s existing network of cameras already numbers 10,000 at present.

On the announcement, Governor Hochul said: “My number one priority as Governor is keeping New Yorkers safe. I am proud that we will be installing cameras on all subway cars – expanding our security capabilities, deterring crime and providing our law enforcement with support. As we continue welcoming riders back to the transit system, we will continue doing everything in our power to keep riders safe.”

The move comes after a series of high-profile incidents on the New York City subway system this year. In February, a woman died after being pushed onto the subway tracks in Times Square on a Saturday morning, while in April, 23 people were injured after a man opened fire in Brooklyn on the subway. For the latter, the police search for the shooter was said to be hampered by problems with the security cameras at the station.

MTA Chief Safety & Security Officer Patrick Warren said: “Cameras are an extremely effective tool in solving investigations and in deterring crime. Public and employee security and safety are priorities at the MTA and we consistently work towards implementing and improving measures that support these priorities. This grant is an important step forward supporting our safety and security efforts.”

Privacy concerns?

While the move is designed to increase safety for passengers, and likely forms part of Mayor Eric Adams’ push to tackle the growing crime problems facing the city, others are worried about the increase in surveillance and how the security cameras will be used.

The New York Civil Liberties Union, an organisation which has a mission seeking to defend privacy rights, has raised concerns over the project.

Its privacy and technology strategist, Daniel Schwarz, commented: “”New York City is already home to tens of thousands of surveillance cameras and there’s no evidence this massive expansion of subway cameras will improve safety.

“Governor Hochul’s announcement is even more worrying given that the MTA has been completely secretive and has not disclosed any information, policies, or audits about its camera and software systems: the scope of information that is collected and analysed, how long it is retained for, how law enforcement uses the information, who the information is shared with, and whether any of the deployed technologies show discriminatory impact or threaten people’s fundamental rights.

“Living in a sweeping surveillance state shouldn’t be the price we pay to be safe. Real public safety comes from investing in our communities, not from omnipresent government surveillance.”


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