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MBTA to double number of security cameras

Grants pave way for expansion

A series of grants, notably a $6.5 million grant two weeks ago, will allow the MBTA to add thousands of security cameras across the system, doubling the current number.

The MBTA has 15 to 20 projects already in the works with many more in the queue line, said Randy Clarke, senior director of security and emergency management for the MBTA.

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“The good thing about cameras is they’re neutral,” Clarke said. “You get good information quickly.”

The projects will add cameras to bus garages, maintenance locations for the trains and buses, stations, and the trains and buses themselves. Each camera costs “a couple thousand” dollars, not including installation costs, but the initiative is 100 percent federally funded, Clarke said.

MBTA officials wouldn’t disclose the total number of cameras that will ultimately be watching T installations.

Aside from helping officials deal with emergencies like a fire or injured person, the cameras also help with service issues and crimefighting.

“By increasing the number of cameras we will increase the plausibility that we can ensure the safety and security of the 1.3 million riders per day,” said Joseph O’Connor, superintendent-in-chief of the MBTA Transit Police.

Two weeks ago, a man was arrested just a day after stabbing a woman at the Ashmont Station on the Red Line. Authorities distributed the suspect’s image from the security cameras, and said that produced a break in the case.

“We have a very safe system,” O’Connor said, “but we certainly believe the cameras do help — and will continue to help us — solve more crimes.”

Matt Woolbright can be reached at
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