In order to continue lowering crime rates, New York City’s MTA put their first surveillance cameras in four subway cars of the E train Monday. The trial surveillance system, which is in effect for one year, will be used to document images of the train’s passenger regions. It is not meant to record the every moment of passengers in real-time. These recordings can provide physical evidence of criminal activities or terrorism attempts and can help immensely in investigating and prosecuting criminals.
The opinion of passengers is largely optimistic. “It’s a good thing,” remarks one passenger, “because you never know what’s going on in there.”
There are signs informing passengers that they may be monitored by video recording. Some believe that even the possibility of watching eyes will result in improved passenger behavior. “Sometimes you might be good if someone’s watching you!” comments another rider.
Crime in the subways has dropped drastically in the past few years due to increased numbers of arrests and police patrol. In 2007, crime dropped 13 percent while ridership rose higher than ever before. Although assaults rose between 2006 and 2007, the number of arrests increased 27 percent. Surveillance cameras can be helpful in situations like these to identify and prosecute criminals.
If this experiment is successful, it may be implemented to include more cars on more transit lines.