Security cameras in key hubs now feeding NYPD

By · Published in 2010

Over 500 subway cameras in three key stations are now hooked into the NYPD’s Ring of Steel monitoring system, the MTA and Mayor Bloomberg announced yesterday. As part of the MTA’s boondoggle of a camera program, live streams from 507 new security devices in Grand Central, Penn Station and Times Square will feed into the NYPD’s Command Center down near Wall St. to assist the cops in fulfilling the goals of their Manhattan Security Initiative.

“The safety and security of our customers is the MTA’s top priority, and I am thrilled to partner with Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly to keep customers safe at our busiest transit hubs,” MTA Chairman and CEO Jay H. Walder said in a statement. “This is one more step in finally putting the proper focus on technology at the MTA. For too long, the MTA has failed to deliver on key technology projects, but you can see that changing all across our system.”

The Mayor, who hasn’t found the willingness to foot the bill for transit upgrades, nevertheless pledged dollars to keep his security efforts running. “We will take whatever steps necessary, regardless of cost in Federal or City funds, to protect New York from terrorists,” he said. “Access to these cameras is a big step in providing the NYPD with the tools it needs to keep transit riders safe – something we urged during the mayoral election campaign last year.”

According to the Daily News, this camera program will serve as the NYPD’s own version of the MTA’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign. The technology used at the monitoring station includes the ability to sound the alarm if an unattended bag is spotted or if people are “entering restricted areas.”

These camera, said the MTA, are just one part of the agency’s Integrated Electronic Security System. While the 507 at the transportation hubs will be monitored, not all of the MTA’s other 3200 feeds will be. Walder did say that cameras at other key stations including those in Lower Manhattan will eventually feed into the NYPD’s system.

For the MTA, this announcement served as a milestone of sorts as the surveillance project has been best by legal, technical and economic problems. Originally designed by Lockheed Martin, the cameras were to be in place years ago, but the two sides engaged in a bitter legal dispute when the contractor claimed it couldn’t access certain areas and the MTA claimed Lockheed missed deadlines. “For too long, the MTA has failed to deliver on key technology projects,” Walder said. “But you can now see that changing all across our system.”

Still, while 1400 have installed over the past six months, more are on the way even as civil liberties groups view these surveillance programs with wary eyes. “Do we really believe that 500 video cameras in three hubs is really going to ramp up our security and not undermine individual liberty and is better than putting more cops on the street?” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said to the Wall Street Journal. “New York City is going to be a go-outside-at-your-own-peril kind of place in no time. Maybe it already is.”

Categories : Subway Security

7 Responses to “Security cameras in key hubs now feeding NYPD”

  1. Nathan H. says:

    Just what we need Bloomberg, more rhetoric declaring that all counter-terrorism is good counter-terrorism. Let’s not dither over costs (in dollars or civil rights), or a measure’s effectiveness for that matter.

  2. Nathanael says:

    The odd thing is that security cameras have lately been *very* useful to prove the innocence of people harrassed and railroaded by cops. So I’ve begun to wonder if it’s actually more beneficial than not.

    Of course the result will be that security cameras are tampered with by those in power who don’t want to be caught.

    So what I think is this: when security camera footage which was supposed to be present goes “missing”, that should cause any prosecution to be thrown out immediately on suspicion of evidence-tampering.

  3. Alon Levy says:

    live streams will feed into the NYPD’s Command Center down near Wall St. to assist the cops in fulfilling the goals of turning the city into a police state


  4. Sharon says:

    It will also keep the few lazy mta employees on there feet.

  5. rhywun says:

    Public agencies must open their cameras to anyone who wants to view them. It’ll never happen but that’s the only acceptable solution to privacy concerns.

  6. Security Guy says:

    They definitely need to open the streams up to other agencies and not just for the NYPD.

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