CDTA Chief Executive Officer Carm Basile speaks at the podium during a press conference on Monday, June 25, about surveillance cameras installed at BusPlus stations along State Street. Also pictured, from left, are Schenectady Chief of Police Mark Chaires, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy and Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney.
SCHENECTADY Some more eyes, albeit digital ones, are patrolling the streets of Schenectady.
The Capital District Transportation Authority on Monday, June 25, announced 12 wireless real-time video cameras were installed at BusPlus Stations along State Street. The cameras are being used as part of Schenectady County’s Public Safety Camera Program, which includes 109 wireless surveillance cameras in nine city neighborhoods. The cameras are hoped to enhance safety at BusPlus stations, while reducing vandalism and other criminal activity.
CDTA Chief Executive Officer Carm Basile said the company is pleased to partner with the Schenectady County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Schenectady to expand its safety and security measures.
“These surveillance tools integrate with our Safewatch program to improve the comfort of our customers and the public, while reinforcing our commitment to work closely with local law enforcement to keep our streets safe,” Basile said in a statement.
The Safewatch program trains CDTA employees to be alert of potential problems and to contact authorities about possible criminal activity, roadside incidents or accidents.
County District Attorney Robert Carney said surveillance cameras can be valuable tools during criminal investigations.
“Cameras do not eliminate crime,” Carney said, “but they help to secure public spaces and often provide investigative leads and actual evidence that can help police to solve crime.”
CDTA and the county have a five-year agreement to maintain the partnership aiming to improve the safety and security of "major" bus stops on State Street and surrounding areas.
The BusPlus camera project totaled $216,000 and was supported by a federal grant, with the state and CDTA each providing a 10 percent matching contribution.
Every year, CDTA officials said they receive “dozens” of requests from local police for video footage of from accidents and crimes. The footage can give law enforcement a better understanding of the timeline of events and easier identify witnesses or suspects.
More than 30 percent of CDTA’s regular route bus fleet is equipped with cameras, too, with the retrofitted buses housing eight cameras capturing the inside and outside the vehicle.
The CDTA plans to retrofit its entire fleet with cameras as part of its fleet replacement plan.
For information on CDTA’s Safewatch program, visit www.cdta.org.