Residents More Than Willing To Look Other Way On Privacy

NEW YORK (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — As many as 500 cameras have been placed in nearly every corner of three of the busiest transit hubs in New York City – in the stairwells and on the platform.

All of them are keeping a close watch on who and what’s going in and out of our subways.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn’t waste time talking about the subways, “which we know terrorists regard as what they would call high value targets.”

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Reporter Stan Brooks gets details from Bloomberg on the new system

Bloomberg, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Metropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Jay Walder announced the city’s newest security initiative on Monday.

Hundreds of MTA subway security cameras placed in Grand Central, Penn Station and Times Square are now directly piped into the NYPD’s security operation center, allowing police eyes in places where they didn’t have them before.

“And seated here in the operation center … we have police officers reviewing this information 24 hours a day,” Kelly told CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport.

It’s part of a plan that was initiated in 2005. The MTA cameras are now joining the more than 1,000 security cameras that are already in place in lower Manhattan, on which the NYPD keeps a watchful eye.

It’s a significant move in the wake of May’s failed Times Square bombing and the plot of Najibullah Zazi year ago to bomb subway trains.

“We are also beginning to use software that identifies potentially suspicious objects or behaviors,” Kelly said.

Earlier this year, Mayor Bloomberg went to London on a fact-finding trip involving that city’s vast network of 12,000 cameras monitoring the train system.

It’s something MTA chief Walder is familiar with and something he said makes sense for New York.

“We’ve taken on the unwanted distinction as one of the leading terror targets in the world,” Walder said.

News of the move was greeted fondly by a lot of subway riders.

“I think it’s a very good idea quite honestly,” one person said.

“Absolutely. Why not? Like, it’s our protection,” added Blake Clendenin of Hell’s Kitchen.

“It’s an invasion of privacy, but if I’m in the subway I like the cops looking over my shoulder,” added Barry Zimmerman.

And the mayor and the police commissioner said they’re not done yet, with more camera hook-ups coming soon.

The New York Civil Liberties Union said it has questions about the surveillance program regarding privacy issues and who has access to the information gathered.

It said it has previously sued the NYPD and Department of Homeland Security for access to that information and that both of those suits are ongoing.

Comments (26)
  1. Ornlly Gumfudgen says:

    “We are also beginning to use software that identifies potentially suspicious objects or behaviors,” Kelly said.

    Can ya say profiling? Thought ya could. What precisely constitutes suspicious behaviors? Paris Hilton droppin a bindle of cocane while diggin in her “not mine” purse fer her lip balm?

    Look, I got no real problem with security cameras but like someone said, they don’t deter crime as much as they assist in the criminal investigation. How long will it take law enforcement ta get thair an do something about th criminal intent BEFORE the crime takes place?

    When yer a terrorist bent on killin himself an everyone around him these cameras will only record what happened an won’t do anythang ta prevent it from happenin. In fact it leaves a video of th incident so other fanatic terrorist can dream of their moment of glory as they kill themselves an hundreds of other innocent people around em.

    So it’s back ta other types of surveillance fer other reasons now ain’t it?

    Violation of th right ta privacy? Well as long as it’s a visual image of somethang that anyone else in the public could see it ain’t a violation of th right ta privacy. But if thairs audio included that is a violation of th Federal Wiretap laws. Also, monitorin a persons activities over a period of time ta profile their activities very well could be illegal from th aspect of stalkin.

    Nope friends, just another placebo ta make ya feel safer while violatin other rights ya seem ta be happy ta give away until ya end up with no rights at all.

  2. Dave says:

    I park my bike on the corner of Pine and William, in the Wall St. district, and I was under the false impression that since the NYPD had cameras everywhere that it was a safe area.. My bike was stolen, pretty as you please. These cameras might be a potentially effective tool, but they require someone on the other side who is actually watching things. Hopefully in my case there was a dorito-eating cop on the other end that saw my bike getting ripped off and just decided that it wasn’t a terrorist action and left it alone.. Rather than an empty seat, or a doritio-eating cop talking to his dorito-eating neighbor and not watching the screens.

  3. Nueva York serf says:

    The State-parasites already are being watched. Every time they shoot an old lady, dog or baby in the back. And they will be held accountable. State-parasites are the predators!

  4. dude says:

    It’s sad that people will give up their privacy and constitutional rights just to get 1 billionth of a bit more false sense of security.

  5. Mrs. Vicki Harrington says:

    September 20, 2010

    The Metropolitan Transit Authority(MTA), and city of New York, have been caught in a host of criminal activities surrounding the matter of “Security Surveillance” upon bus and subway system, for which recently include discovery of “Unlawful Utterance Surveillance” including “Name-dropping.

    A dangerous game.

    Go figure.

    Harrington, Mrs.

    (1 of 2)

  6. Lean Right says:

    And here in the operations center we have sitting ducks…hopefully not.

  7. Common Sense Kid says:

    Camera’s only help solve the crime, not deter it.

  8. Captain James Sanders, B-747 Retired says:

    What about putting surveillance cameras inside the subway cars themselves. Most of the times that is where the “funny business” occurs. Suicide Bombers get in the train or bus itself in order to blow up the most people and if the bomber is one of those, oh so many peaceful, MUSLIMS, all he will be looking at is a bunch of Virgins! Hah, (LOL).

  9. NostraChronus says:

    weren’t London’s subways bombed like two years ago? Yeah, chalk one up for Big Brother because they certainly don’t deter terrorism.

    1. Dan Feinstein says:

      True. Camera’s have done nothing to stop incidents, in the past. They won’t put a halt to anything but your freedom.

  10. Pete says:

    “It’s an invasion of privacy, but if I’m in the subway I like the cops looking over my shoulder,” added Barry Zimmerman.

    It really bothers me when people claim invasion of privacy. You’re not supposed to have privacy in a PUBLIC transit system. There are cameras in many other places elsewhere: building lobbies, elevators, malls. To me, if you disapprove of cameras in the subways, you got something to hide.

  11. Causteg says:

    Second paragraph: “whom and what” should be “who and what” — some literacy from CBS News, please!

  12. thenjgirl says:

    Are they working?

    1. nulisecundus says:

      no, they are actually dummy cameras. The budget did not allow for them to really work.

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