(Bloomberg) -- New York will install surveillance cameras in its more than 6,400 subway train cars in a push to crack down on crime underground, Governor Kathy Hochul said Tuesday.
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There will be two cameras per train car, Hochul said. The installation of the cameras will be funded by the US Department of Homeland Security and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a state agency that runs New York City’s subways, buses and commuter rail lines, she said. The MTA plans to install about 200 cameras per month, with completion expected by 2025.
The MTA is working to strengthen its security measures following a number of high-profile incidents that have left commuters on edge. A mass shooting in April inside a subway train in Brooklyn left at least 23 people injured. And in January, 40-year-old Deloitte employee Michelle Go was pushed to her death by a stranger in front of an R train from the subway platform in Times Square.
“You think Big Brother is watching you on the subways? You’re absolutely right,” Hochul said Tuesday during a press briefing in Queens. “Smile, you’re on camera.”
The transit agency has already been installing hidden cameras on cars as part of a pilot program to test the technology and how it can better help solve transit crime. Janno Lieber, the MTA’s chief executive officer, said that the placement of cameras on the train cars is an extension of a program that has brought 10,000 cameras to train yards, turnstiles and platforms.
“We’re going to have pictures of you, and the NYPD is going to find you,” Lieber said. “You will be caught.”
Even with the added security on platforms, the MTA’s surveillance system at three subway stations failed to transmit video feed after the April 12 mass shooting. A problem with the fan unit was preventing video from transmitting, according to the MTA. New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he wanted the MTA to review its surveillance system.
MTA officials have said boosting ridership is the central issue for the transit agency as it faces a potential $2 billion budget deficit in 2026. People have embraced a hybrid work schedule that keeps them at home part of the week, while others have avoided the subway system because of crime.
The MTA, the largest US mass-transit provider, may not regain 100% of pre-pandemic ridership until about 2035. Subways carried 3.7 million New Yorkers on Sept. 14, the highest since early 2020.
(Updates with details and context throughout)
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