OAKLAND – Security cameras on trains are installed to enhance safety and ensure that justice is served in the event a crime is committed. They are intended to make would-be criminals think twice before stealing a purse, laptop, smartphone, or wallet.
They’re also supposed to reduce the number of assaults that can be inflicted upon innocent passengers. But what many commuters do not realize is that some of the security cameras installed on San Francisco Bay Area commuter trains are decoys. Fake cameras designed to make people “think” they are being recorded, and hopefully, curbing crime.
The truth came out after a transit agency was asked if it had footage of a weekend killing that occurred on one of its trains.
Gail Murray, the Bay Area Rapid Transit Director told the Oakland Tribune that some of the cameras on the trains are decoys, while others are real and do record images.
As of Jan. 15, it was unclear if the transit agency captured footage of the Saturday killing because it refused to provide that information to the public.
The name of the shooting victim has not been released, but what we do know is that he was shot while a San Francisco bound train was coming into West Oakland station. There have been no arrests.
While not all of the cameras on the trains are real, the agency has installed real surveillance cameras at fare boxes and on station platforms. The authorities have been able to acquire images of the suspected shooter from one of those cameras, and the police have begun distributing the images.
Due to criminal activity occurring on trains and affecting passenger safety, the agency began installing cameras on train cars in the late 1980s, and they have been using them to deter criminal activity ever since.
The Oakland Tribune decided to look deeper into the fake camera issue. After looking at 140 camera lights in 35 BART cars on six trains travelling between Oakland and San Francisco, of those, only 24 of the cameras had a green light.
What the newspaper discovered: the remaining 116 cameras were displaying either a red light, or they didn’t have a light at all.
Charged with a BART crime?
Often when people are accused of a BART crime, the transit agency cannot provide any footage to support or disprove the allegations. In many cases, when asked, BART fails to deliver what’s needed.
Should these trains be using fake surveillance cameras? We don’t think so. We don’t see why they shouldn’t be installing functioning cameras on each of their trains. Not only would real cameras protect the public’s safety, but they can be used to absolve suspects from crimes they did not commit.
If you’re being accused of a BART crime, with or without footage, contact the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free case evaluation!