Thanks to almost $7 million from the Department of Homeland Security, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has begun outfitting its busses with security cameras. As of February of 2014, only 10 of the most crime-ridden routes have had cameras installed, but the “T” as it’s called, will use the grant to install cameras in over 200 buses by the end of the year.
Each bus is equipped with security cameras and a video monitor at the front of the bus so passengers can see what is being recorded. The T hopes that seeing they’re being recorded will act as a deterrent to criminals and law-abiding citizens will be more aware of their surroundings, and act as an extra eye on any suspicious activity. The cameras are powered by Verizon’s 4G LTE network, so the live video feed is monitored by Transit employees; the video feed can also be viewed in certain police cars.
Officials hope the security cameras will reduce passengers’ fear in high-crime areas. The MBTA wants to eventually outfit their entire fleet with cameras depending on future grants. Violent crimes are not particularly prevalent on Massachusetts busses, but authorities hope to assuage passengers’ apprehension about riding the bus in high-crime areas.
Homeland Security believes the cameras will also help authorities identify emergency situations. Digital videos of crimes will also help in criminal prosecutions. The Superintendent of the Transit Police believes installation of cameras will be a significant step towards improving people’s attitudes towards riding the bus.