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After a year of all kinds of crimes taking place on the New York City subway system, the MTA is taking new steps to ensure the safety of its passengers and its workers.
The Gothamist is reporting that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the plans on installing two surveillance cameras in all subway cars on the New York City transit line. We would’ve preferred more Notorious B.I.G. MetroCards for everyone that didn’t get a chance to get one to be honest, but we’re not mad at the new initiative for safety.
Hochul said she hopes the surveillance will result in more people choosing to ride the subway, where ridership remains down 37% on weekdays – despite reaching a post-pandemic high just last week.
“You think Big Brother is watching you on the subways, you’re absolutely right. That is our intent,” Hochul said. “We are going to be having surveillance of activities on the subway trains and that is going to give people great peace of mind. If you’re concerned about this, best answer is don’t commit any crimes on the subways.”
The $5.5 million project will consist of 13,000 cameras being installed into the 6,455 subway cars that run New York City over the next three years. Whether this actually sways people from getting too rowdy on the train or even deter fare evaders remains to be seen, but it should at least make people feel a little safer when riding the subway.
Still, some privacy advocates question the new move from the MTA (as anyone would).
“New York City is already home to tens of thousands of surveillance cameras and there’s no evidence this massive expansion of subway cameras will improve safety,” said Daniel Schwarz, a strategist at the New York Civil Liberties Union. “Living in a sweeping surveillance state shouldn’t be the price we pay to be safe. Real public safety comes from investing in our communities, not from omnipresent government surveillance.”
He urged Hochul and the MTA to release more information on what the cameras will collect and how long it will be stored.
MTA spokesman Tim Minton countered that “cameras are ubiquitous in daily life, in stores, on sidewalks, in offices, at airports, on commuter railroads, on buses, and now in subway cars.”
According to the MTA a customer survey taken this past August outlined “Personal Safety & Security” as the number one reason that passengers don’t feel safe when riding the train. Looks like the MTA is ready to take a big step to change that and not everyone is going to like it.
What do y’all think of the MTA’s plans to install cameras in the subway cars of NYC? Let us know in the comments section below.