After an incident where a perpetrator stabbed an 11-year-old boy and was never identified, the municipal transit system in San Francisco performed a thorough check on all of their surveillance cameras. The startling results showed that that out of the approximately 960 vehicles equipped with surveillance devices, 22 percent didn’t work at all, and 30 percent were only partially functional. This revealed that only 48 percent of all the cameras installed were actually working properly.
The check also discovered significant problems such as blurry images, vandalized cameras, poor sound, broken data packs, bad cables and inoperable recorders. There were also some cameras found that were still operating even though they are around 9 years old, which is practically ancient compared to the surveillance systems available today.
After this discovery, the transit department went to work and brought that number down to 20 percent, which is an improvement, but they still say that 1 in 5 cameras don’t work, leaving people unprotected and giving criminals a better chance of getting away with their crimes.
The agency declared an emergency on September 25 to allow normal procurement and contracting procedures to be bypassed, with the goal of 100 percent working systems by November 30th, said James Dougherty, Muni’s chief safety officer. Completing the work “is a top priority.”