The MTA announced last week that thousands of security cameras have been installed at all 472 subway stations ahead of schedule to enhance security, deliver a decline in major felonies and to increase arrests.
The initiative to accelerate the camera installations was by former interim President Sarah Feinberg, who identified a new class of cameras that was cheaper and able to be deployed at the 200 stations that were lacking them, according to the MTA. The last cameras were installed at the Broadway station G-line.
“Thanks to our incredible workforce who continue to deliver for our customers and credit to Sarah Feinberg who from the top of New York City Transit got this program accelerated,” said Craig Cipriano, the acting president of the MTA in a prepared statement. “We have delivered on Sarah’s commitment to accelerate the camera roll-out as we look to restore confidence in the system. We recognize safety and security are top concerns for our customers, as they return to our system, and this is a significant tool in our effort to enhance rider safety.”
The original timeline for the camera installations was early 2025, according to the MTA.
The 7, 7-X, A, E, F, G, J, M, N, R, W and Z-lines and a shuttle to Rockaway Park account for 81 subway stations in Queens, according to the MTA. Ranking 10th for ridership over the weekend pre-Covid in 2018 was the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Station on 74th Street, which saw 69,953 straphangers.
The average daily ridership in Queens for 2018 was approximately 755,778, according to the MTA. That number comes from turnstile swipes at subway stations.
Ridership remained down by 50.3 percent as of Sept. 20 compared to a prepandemic day, according to the agency’s website on Tuesday.
Cameras have brought a 20.6 percent decline in major felonies (murder, rape, robbery, grand larceny and felony assault) and a 28.6 percent increase in arrests, according to year-to-date stats for Aug. 31 collected by the transit agency from the NYPD. They have also been helpful in identifying suspicious packages across segments of the subway station system in real time.
“We at the MTA, together with the NYPD, are driven to deliver a safer and more high-level quality of life experience in the subway system and these cameras are a big part of that,” said MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren in a prepared statement adding that the NYPD is aggressively investigating subway crime. “If you are a criminal who preys on those who use our system, you will have your image captured and be put on the express track to justice. The image will be delivered to the police, and the police will use it to find you.”
There are two types of security cameras in the subway system: those that broadcast in real time to the subway’s security center and those that record locally and provide material that can be retrieved quickly and used for investigations for crimes, according to the agency. The MTA will continue to expand the placement of cameras throughout the system to optimize the coverage of stations.