OAKLAND (Alex Savidge, KTVU staff) - About six months after it came to light that BART has security cameras that were either dummies or weren't working, the transit agency revealed on Wednesday that by the end of the day every train car in the fleet is outfitted with working technology.
Now, BART has cameras on platforms, inside and outside stations, and on the police officers themselves. Each car has four cameras on board.
“The installation of new digital cameras demonstrates our commitment to public safety,” said BART Police Chief Carlos Rojas said in a statement. “These cameras will be an effective tool for solving crimes that occur on the BART system by helping investigators to identify suspects. The devices will also serve as a deterrent to prevent some crimes from ever occurring in the first place.”
The cameras have a useful life of six to seven years, BART said, coinciding with the time it will take for the aging train cars to be retired and new trains from the "Fleet of the Future" will replace them. The incoming fleet has been designed with built-in cameras.
The BART Board of Directors approved the contracts to purchase the cameras, DVRs, and box housing units for $463,749 in August, 2016 after testing various models. The full cost of the project including labor and other materials was $1.42 million with the money coming from BART’s operating budget.
The original in-train camera deployment included a mix of real and decoy cameras that were installed in the late 90s and early 2000s as a deterrent against vandalism.
But in February 2016, news agencies revealed that 77 percent of the cameras on the trains either were fake or were broken. The issue came to a head after the Jan. 9, 2016 fatal shooting 19-year-old Carlos Misael Funez-Romero of Antioch on a train at the West Oakland Station. while there was video of footage on the platform, there was no working video taken inside the train.
On Wednesday, commuter Bobby Silicani of Concord said it's "obviously" better than BART now has working cameras. "Once something goes wrong," he said of the death not captured on camera, it "bites you in the bottom."