Friday, June 02, 2006

NYC to put cameras on buses, and terrorists aren't only target

Associated Press
NEW YORK - Hundreds of Manhattan buses will be outfitted with surveillance cameras as part of a security upgrade prompted by bomb attacks on public transit in London and Madrid.
New York City Transit officials said the initiative will begin to bring New York into line with other big cities that have put cameras on buses and trains in recent years.
"We started looking at doing this after Madrid, and we really started looking at it in earnest after London," said transit system spokesman Paul Fleuranges, referring to the 2004 attacks that killed 191 people in Spain and 52 people in England.
The effort will be the city's first major attempt to conduct regular video surveillance on either trains or buses since an abandoned pilot program involving about 100 Bronx buses in the late 1990s.
These are different times, and this program may have more staying power - although authorities are quick to say they don't expect the main value of the system will be an ability to detect or deter would-be bombers.
The cameras, positioned around the bus and its exits, will probably spend their days recording a far more common type of criminal, from the young vandals who etch graffiti on bus windows, to brawling drunks or thieves who snatch people's iPods and run.
"This is primarily an anti-crime, anti-vandalism initiative," Fleuranges said.
Everything the cameras see will be digitally saved for 45 days and then erased.