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Smile Straphangers! You're On High-Tech Digital Cameras

New York News 1 | June 01, 2005

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has installed 120 high-tech digital cameras in nine subway stations along the N, D, and F lines as a deterrent against crime and terrorism.

The cameras are located at nine stops in the Kensington, Flatbush, Borough Park and Midwood sections of Brooklyn.

Borough Park Assemblyman Dov Hikind says he authorized spending almost $1.2 million in state Assembly funds for the project. Hikind says the purpose of the cameras is to deter and target both criminals and terrorists.

Hikind says he helped fund the project because he was initially concerned about terrorist threats to the Jewish community.

"These nine stations send a message to the bad guys: When you enter this station, everyone who enters this station is recorded. Your video, your picture, will remain secure from seven to 30 days," said Hikind.

While there are already cameras in the transit system, this would be the first time that every entrance and exit is covered and recorded. The cameras have already led to the arrest of one suspect accused of assaulting someone on the street and attempting to escape by subway.

"It's really a win-win for everybody," said New York City Transit president Lawrence Reuter. "It's a great use of the state capital funds. It's a great benefit for our passengers and customers to be able to go into this station, to know that they are safer, more secure and actually gives our own employees more benefits and more tools to use in their jobs as well."

Most straphangers who spoke with NY1 said they are in favor of the extra security.

"I think it's pretty good. Doesn't bother me. I think it's good," said one straphanger.

"It's good. It can keep an eye on everything," added another.

"It's a good thing," added a third. "I'd rather have Big Brother watching and something there to interfere if something goes on than to have nobody watching and get in a spot."

Some civil liberties groups have come out against similar security cameras, such as some put up by the NYPD in the Bronx.

The New York Civil Liberties Union says it has concerns about what government might do with the images of people who are not suspected of illegal activity.

Hikind dismisses those concerns, saying people don't have a reasonable expectation of that kind of privacy when using public transportation. He says they do expect government to do things to make the transit system safer, and he believes the cameras will do just that.

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