BART drops $1.4 million on new cameras

BART said Friday that technicians have begun installing additional security cameras to cover the interiors of all 669 of its train cars at a cost of $1.42 million.

The transit agency committed on Jan. 20 to using working cameras on all of its train cars after it was revealed in the aftermath of a fatal shooting on a train at the West Oakland station on Jan. 9 that not all cameras were real and many of them were decoys that were used as a deterrent.

But today is the first time that BART has released a cost estimate for the additional cameras.

BART officials said they will use funds from their operating budget to pay for the new cameras. They said they may also apply for federal funds to cover a portion of the cost if they’re available.

The new digital cameras are being installed on a regular basis during maintenance hours, without disrupting service, transit agency officials said.

BART said the new cameras will augment the existing network of security infrastructure, which includes current surveillance on trains, on platforms, outside stations, inside stations and on police officers themselves.

BART said it will get the full value of the new equipment because the useful life of the new digital cameras is between six and seven years, which coincides with the final decommissioning of its old fleet of cars.

BART said its new train cars, which are in production and are set to begin arriving next year, are designed with built-in cameras.

The transit agency said its original in-train camera deployment included a mix of real and decoy cameras which were installed during the late 1990s and early 2000s before the wide use of digital recording, which was primarily effective as a deterrent against vandalism.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said in a statement:

“The security of our riders is important to us and builds a foundation for public trust. …¬†We are responsive to safety concerns and are confident these steps will effectively address them as our needs have evolved.”

BART didn’t say how long it will take to finish installing all of the new security cameras.

The agency’s use of decoys was discovered by the public after 19-year-old Carlos Misael Funez-Romero of Antioch was shot and killed on a San Francisco-bound train as it pulled into the West Oakland station at about 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 9.

The suspect, who is still at large, then fled from the station into the neighborhood.

In the course of the investigation, police released surveillance photos of the suspect leaving the West Oakland station but didn’t release photos from inside the train car.

BART announced today that it’s offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect, who is described as a black man between 6 feet and 6 feet 4 inches tall with a slim build who had a bald, shaved or close-cut hair style and was wearing a green hooded jacket with beige construction-style boots.