The head of the MTA’s security committee said Tuesday that he will be demanding that the agency come up with an in-house solution to the hundreds of busted cameras idling in the system.
“It’s gone on too long. These cameras need to be up and running by yesterday,” said MTA board members Norman Seabrook.
Of the 4,313 cameras installed in the subways, only about half — or 2,270 — are working. The MTA paid $20 million to install 900 cameras around turnstiles in 32 stations in 2006, but the cameras never started rolling because SteelBox, a key contractor, went out of business. A further 1,100 cameras are stalled due to litigation with another contractor, Lockheed Martin.
An in-house solution may not be so difficult as amNewYork reported earlier this month that more than 120 cameras hung and maintained by transit workers in Brooklyn and Astoria cost about half as much as the SteelBox devices and, according to elected officials, have helped to bust criminals since 2006.
“We can no longer jeopardize public safety on equipment that is not operating,” said Seabrook, who intends to press the MTA during its board meetings Monday on getting the cameras up and running quickly.
MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said that the agency is continuing to fix the turnstile cameras, and pledged to have them working by June. He also said the agency is working to get the Lockheed Martin cameras running but could not provide more details.
Of the 4,313 cameras in the subway system, 2,270 are working. Here is a breakdown of the working ones:
— 1,106 at turnstiles
— 833 installed before 2004 and placed throughout stations
— 113 in water tunnels
— 218 NYPD cameras