Sacramento Regional Transit Activates Security Cams

Dec. 8--Sacramento Regional Transit last week launched live video surveillance from overhead cameras at all 47 light rail stations.

The cameras send real-time feeds to a downtown command center where guards at computer screens monitor them.

Security officials say the system is an important step in making transit safer -- and improving transit's shaky image.

Warning signs went up in recent weeks at stations, officials said, letting people know: You may be watched.

"People are concerned about issues at stations, and we are taking public concerns seriously," RT interim General Manager Mike Wiley said.

RT officials say they hope to expand the system next year to include live feeds from cameras inside train cars. Cameras in trains currently hold video that must be downloaded to be viewed.

The program was financed mainly with $1.2 million in federal Homeland Security grants, officials said.

RT officials acknowledge they are fighting a battle to improve the agency's image on safety issues. Recent RT surveys found many people feel uncomfortable at times when riding.

Complaints typically focus on rowdy teenagers, disheveled riders who smell, and abusive or discourteous behavior by some passengers. Those fears also are cited by some non-riders as a reason they don't take the trains.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Sacramento Bee, Calif.


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