Onboard security cameras deter false claims, crimes and vandalism. Dealers can expand their target m
If you want to help bus company owners deter crime on buses, have them tell passengers that onboard cameras are watching them. That is what the following transit agencies did. Using onboard video cameras, the agencies have been able to save time and money by capturing on tape what was previously hearsay. Dealers can expand their service offering by proposing CCTV systems to public transit companies. What is the selling point? These cameras can help clients deter false claims, crimes and vandalism.
Cameras on Buses Can Prevent False Claims
False claims are a big problem at Golden Empire Transit (GET) in Bakersfield, Calif., which installed onboard digital video surveillance cameras in March 1999.
Two months later, a woman was onboard a bus that was involved in a minor accident. She claimed that she grabbed onto the handrail and, when the driver stepped on the brakes, hit her upper lip against her thumb, breaking her bridgework.
The woman complained to GET, but, after viewing the videos, the agency found that the woman’s hand was not even on the bar and her face never came in contact with any object. After the woman was told the incident was on tape, she did not file a claim.
Avoiding the Risk of Passenger Assault
Crime has also declined at the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) since cameras were installed on 109 of its 237 buses. The cameras are useful for helping police determine who to arrest. After an intoxicated man and pregnant woman boarded a COTA bus, two teen-agers remarked that something stunk on the bus. Believing the comment was directed toward him, the man began arguing with one of the teen-agers, striking him on the back when he turned away. When both teens jumped the man, the pregnant woman decided to join the fight and was accidentally struck by one of the teens.
While the bus was awaiting the arrival of the police, the teen-agers left the bus. The officer at the scene was aware of the onboard digital cameras and requested a copy of the images. After viewing the images, the officer issued a summons for the man’s arrest.
Installing three cameras on each of the buses cost COTA $856,000. That cost includes about 80 computers that are used for diagnostic testing.
Employees Are Caught in the Act and on Tape
Even employees are not exempt from the watchful eye of the camera. At the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), two employees were discharged for vandalizing buses. One employee was terminated for writing graffiti. The other was fired for disabling the cameras so company officials could not watch him while he was working – though, ultimately, it was the cameras that caught him in the act.
Cameras Can Help Reduce Crime Rates
The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) finds surveillance cameras most useful as a deterrent. “When people know they are on camera, they behave,” says Joseph Caruso, marketing director at MCTS. Caruso adds that since the city of Milwaukee has such a low crime rate, the city’s transit system does not have too many incidents of crime. Most incidents on the bus deal with disorderly conduct or violation of local ordinances, like eating or smoking on the bus.
These accounts by public transit agencies illustrates a definite need for CCTV on buses and other modes of public transportation. This opens up a new avenue for security dealers to help them broaden their menu of services.
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