MTA unveils security monitor screen pilot program for New York City buses

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Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Fight against transit crimes expands with fair evasion crackdown, new bus cameras
The pilot program to increase subway safety will run through the beginning of 2025. Darla Miles has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As officials work to improve safety underground on the New York City subway, the MTA wants to make buses safer too.

On Monday, the MTA unveiled its security monitor screen pilot that will include more than 100 buses.

The high-definition LCD screens will be installed on buses near the entry stairwell and will continuously stream live video feeds from existing security camera infrastructure.

Officials hope the security monitors will make both drivers and passengers feel safer. They will also aim to serve as a deterrent to potential criminals while providing real-time video to law enforcement.

There are cameras all over the subway - both through surveillance and cellphones - that quickly help to track down offenders. But the MTA says crime is not the number one problem.

"Their number one issue is seeing someone who has an emotional disturbance, who has a mental health crisis," said New York City Transit President Richard Davey. "And you don't know if they're violent, but the vast majority of times are not, but you don't know."

MTA Chief of Transit Michael Kemper updated the board Monday on how the surge of National Guard troops and uniformed officers has helped to bring crime numbers down.

"At the end of January, we saw a concerning 46.7% increase in overall crime in the subway system," Kemper said. "So far, for the month of March alone and as of right now, today, overall crime is down 15.5% in March. That being said, while the statistics indicate that crime is trending downward, we did experience some unfortunate high profile incidents that weigh heavily on our riders' minds."

Those incidents include the slashing of an MTA conductor in February and a shooting on the A train in Brooklyn earlier this month.

"Let's take a look at a crime that affects most in this room," Kemper said. "Assaults against MTA, assaults against MTA employees. Last year, 38 individuals were arrested for 41 complaints of assaults on MTA workers. Those 38 individuals have been arrested a combined total of 1,126 times."

Davey said the new technology being installed on MTA buses will "be a force multiplier to the safety benefits these cameras already provide."

All screens are expected to be installed by the end of this year. The pilot is expected to run through the beginning of 2025.

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