OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) --After a deadly shooting on board a BART train, the transit agency says fake cameras will be replaced with the real thing. The decision from BART is an about-face. Just last week, the agency defended decoy cameras on board its trains.
In this case, public feedback made all the difference and now big changes are in store.
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When BART revealed last week that many of the cameras in its train cars were decoys, riders couldn't believe it.
"The fact is that the taxpayers are paying all this money. It's a common sense question... wouldn't you think these things actually work?" BART rider Paul Lipscomb said.
However, BART defended the decoys as crime deterrents, but now it's taking public sentiment to heart.
"We hear loud and clear from the public they are unhappy that we were using decoys and so today we are announcing that we are committed to as quickly as possible, buying and outfitting every single train car with a working camera," BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said.
The decoys came to light last week, after BART was unable to provide video evidence of the Jan. 9 fatal shooting inside a Pittsburg-Bay Point train. Images of the suspect came from station cameras instead. As for the new cameras, they'll likely record video to be viewed later, not in real-time. But riders say that's good enough for them.
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"You need to have the video to solve a serious crime, so I think for that purpose, it will be helpful," BART rider George Chikovani said.
"I think as long as it's coming at a low cost and on-budget for what BART is expecting to spend, I can't see a downside to it," BART rider Scott Strand said.
Other details still need to be worked out including the cost, the funding and how long it will take to replace the cameras.
The train cameras were first installed in the late 1990s to combat graffiti.
Trost said the safety of riders and employees is BART's top priority. She said, "BART is a very safe mode of transportation with a robust surveillance system with cameras located in train cars, on platforms, in stations, and even our police officers wear cameras."