Jan 20, 2016
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BART announced Wednesday it will swap out decoy surveillance cameras on trains with working ones “as quickly as possible” following a Jan. 9 fatal shooting inside a train car approaching West Oakland station.

BART was criticized after the incident, as it was discovered that the camera on the train where the killing occurred was not working.

The San Francisco Chronicle further uncovered that “the vast majority of the [cameras on trains] are decoys incapable of capturing footage” and meant only deter crime. That has made it difficult for investigators trying to locate a suspect in the Jan. 9 homicide. However, police were able to obtain an image of a suspect from station cameras.

“BART has committed to install a working camera system on each and every train car as quickly as possible,” BART spokesperson Alicia Trost said in a statement. “Staff is already working on funding options, a procurement plan, and deployment strategy.  Our riders and employees’ safety is BART’s top priority.”

BART also conceded that using decoys doesn’t work when everyone knows they are decoys.

“The ability of decoy cameras to deter crime depends on the principle of uncertainty,” the agency’s statement said. “Once that uncertainty was removed, our strategy was rendered ineffective.”

BART’s upcoming Fleet of the Future trains already have cameras on all cars.


About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.