Dummy California Train System Caught With Dummy Cams

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 14, 2016

Who uses dummy cameras? Evidently, the fifth busiest train system in the US, with 125+ million annual rides.

A fascinating story from a San Francisco paper, key quotes:

"BART Director Tom Radulovich of San Francisco, who has been on the board since 1996, said that when the cameras were installed on trains, directors knew some were not real. He said he couldn’t recall the agency’s rationale, but he assumed it was budgetary.

“The thought was that they had a deterrent effect because some people thought they were real,” he said"

and

"Chronicle reporters walked the length of seven BART trains on Wednesday, taking note of the surveillance equipment. In all, 173 of 228 cameras on the cars — or 76 percent — appeared to be dummies."

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Comments (8)

I don't believe cameras are a deterrent, I can't tell you how many times I have seen criminals look right at a camera while their stealing from a liquor store. That being said, I don't think it's worth the few dollars to have them installed.

I do believe you could be held liable for installing dummy cameras, I think it creates a false sense of security. Let's say someone sits on the train near camera because they're being followed and they're afraid of being attacked, then they're attacked and theres no footage!

Let's say someone sits on the train near camera because they're being followed and they're afraid of being attacked, then they're attacked and theres no footage!

More secure, but just as dead. ;)

"Let's say someone sits on the train near camera because they're being followed and they're afraid of being attacked, then they're attacked and theres no footage!"

Related: Rape Under A Dummy Camera - Is This A True Story? I am skeptical though of those scenarios because one also would need to prove that the camera would have stopped or mitigated the attack which, from the court cases we cite in that thread, is not the expectation of US courts historically.

I don't believe cameras are a deterrent, I can't tell you how many times I have seen criminals look right at a camera while their stealing from a liquor store.

I'm sure you have had criminals look right the at camera and decide to move on as well.

But how would you know?

And who looks at the footage when there is no crime anyway?

If you have complete coverage of a liquor store with good PPF, some gaze detection analytics and POS integration, you might be able cull some examples of people who looked at every camera and bought nothing.

It would be interesting to review at least, no?

"I'm sure you have had criminals look right the at camera and decide to move on as well. But how would you know?" Such is the nature of the Security field; when success means that nothing happened.

I don't think there is much distinction between fake cameras and real cameras in the bazar world of BART. I use BART daily, on days when I choose to be a "good citizen of the planet" and take my bike to the station, I would park it in front of the camera, securely lock it, only to return to find things missing from the bike.

When I ask the station attendant, with his screen full of cameras on full display to unsuspecting BART riders, what happened, I was told that since they can't tell if someone fiddling with a bike is the owner or a crook, so they don't bother looking. On another occasion I asked the police officer taking the report why they have such a high theft problem in a supposedly good neighborhood. It seems that many of the cameras are not even recorded, and even if they were, the police didn't have the time to review the video, at least for any small crime. If you were to visit all of the BART stations on any day of the week, you would find at least half the stations with bike frames securely locked to the rack with the wheels and seat missing.

The moral of my bike story is: if you want to keep your bike safe, leave it at home and drive to the station.

UPDATE - Real Cameras Will Be Installed

After the international public humiliation of the past month, BART is rushing to install real cameras. The explanation is bizarre, evidently they have cameras in storage for 5 years:

"BART was awarded a $3.8 million Homeland Security grant in 2010 to install live-streaming cameras on trains, however the Chron helpfully informs us that "[much] of the equipment is still boxed up in storage, though.""

After the international public humiliation of the past month, BART is rushing to install real cameras. The explanation is bizarre, evidently they have cameras in storage for 5 years:

Some merchandise, like art or fine wines, can actually appreciate in value during storage.

Security cameras probably don't fall into this category.

But let's just pray they're not aged Arecont's; 2011 wasn't exactly a vintage year for them to begin with.

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