About half the 4,313 security cameras installed along New York City's subways aren't seeing a thing, says an AP report.
"A lot of those cameras don't work, and maybe someday we're going to get very badly hurt because of it," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in the report.
While cameras are out of commission in the subway, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has also been forced to cut police patrol shifts on major bridges and tunnels on the weekends. The problem of missing video came to light after two men were recently stabbed to death on the subway — and there was no camera installed in the station to catch an image of the killer.
The New York Police Department says it doesn't depend on the surveillance cameras set up by the MTA — instead, officers patrol the subways and set up random bag searches in stations around the city, the report says.
The NYPD is installing thousands of cameras around the city and is using private surveillance installed in major buildings as part of a massive security initiative, according to the report. In addition, 500 specialized cameras are in place. But the MTA, which just last week approved $93 million in service cuts, is in charge of the cameras within the subway system. Of the 4,313 cameras, 2,270 are working and 2,043 aren't. Some are under construction and the agency is working to bring them online — an additional 900 should be up by June, the report says. Some just plain don't work because of heat, water or electrical problems. And about 1,000 are held up by litigation.
A division of Lockheed Martin hired to install the systems sued the MTA last year, blaming the agency for delays preventing them from meeting construction deadlines. The MTA countersued, saying that Lockheed Martin had provided faulty products.
The mayor said that he was concerned about security, and that the city government had a plan in place that would've given enough money to the agency to improve security, as well as quality — but that Albany didn't agree."I think it's fair to say the MTA does not have enough money to provide the level of security that people want and that we should have," he said. "If we didn't learn the need for security in the subway system time and time in the past, yesterday or the day before should have taught us again."