In an effort to allay fears of crime and threats to personal safety, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) hopes to lure riders back on the New York City subway by installing two security cameras on every train car.
This week, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the MTA New York City Transit has received a $2 million award through the Urban Area Security Initiative federal grant program to provide funding for the installation of the video surveillance cameras across the entire fleet of subway cars.
Subway ridership has hovered around 60 percent of prepandemic levels, Gov. Kathy Hochul said Tuesday. The security cameras are intended to lure back raiders frightened of crime and reinforce a subway system whose finances were seriously challenged.
The Urban Area Security Initiative is a program under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Preparedness Grants. The funding will be used to purchase of 5,400 cameras to be installed on 2,700 New York City Transit subway cars. Additionally, the program will fund approximately 3,800 cameras expanding coverage in approximately 130 subway stations, according to an MTA announcement.
"My number one priority as Governor is keeping New Yorkers safe," Hochul said. "I am proud that we will be installing cameras on all subway cars — expanding our security capabilities, deterring crime, and providing our law enforcement with support. As we continue welcoming riders back to the transit system, we will continue doing everything in our power to keep riders safe."
The funding will further boost NYC Transit’s existing security network of more than 10,000 cameras across all 472 subway stations. The new funding covers the cost of camera installation on 6,355 cars, allowing the MTA to fully outfit every subway car with cameras. The program supplements an existing camera pilot program that includes 200 cameras in 100 subway cars.
Additionally, funding from the Subway Action Plan totaling $3.5 million will enable the purchase of 7,310 cameras on 3,655 cars, two per car. The total funding to complete the installations equals $5.5 million. When installation begins an additional 200 train cars per month will have cameras installed until the entire subway car fleet is camera-equipped, which is anticipated to occur sometime in 2025. In addition, when new R211 subway cars are delivered starting in early 2023 they will already be camera-equipped.
In the announcement, New York City Transit President Richard Davey stated, “It's been proven time and time again that cameras in the transit system help fight crime throughout the whole city, not just on the subway. Expanding the camera network will serve to deter those who are intent on committing a crime from entering the transit system.”