Thieves hit Kingwood Park and Pillage; METRO's $16 million security system takes a picture

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Yesterday Cory Crow highlighted a yet another great moment for METRO PD’s Chief Lambert: The Kingwood Park and Pillage was…pillaged:

Commuters were in for a nasty surprise when they got off the bus at the Kingwood Park & Ride Thursday afternoon.

Thieves reportedly broke into multiple cars there, leaving lots of broken glass and busted windows.

KHOU-11’s story noted that it was unclear if anyone was watching the security camera feed at Transtar! Recall how METRO touted its $16 million “high-tech” security system back in 2006:

Now, finally, Metro is going to find out whether a camera can do the work of a human on the premises. The first camera was installed at the Kuykendahl Park & Ride lot in August and linked to the Houston TranStar control center, where Metro police can see what the camera sees, Lambert said recently.

Cameras are now being installed at six other lots: North Shepherd, Spring, Pinemont, West Little York, Northwest and Seton Lake. By the end of January, all 25 Park & Ride lots and the Hillcroft Transit Center will have them, Lambert said.

Since Metro eliminated full-time security guards at the lots, the remote security plan has become much more ambitious, with plans now calling for $16 million in new hardware.

“We’ve totally changed the project,” Lambert said. “We didn’t envision in the first phase that we would actually be able to remotely open and close and lock down a lot.”

The sum covers the cameras, gates controllable from TranStar, call boxes that patrons can use to report crimes, loudspeakers to issue warnings and software to connect all this with the people who will run it.

The software can also identify cars entering the bus bays, suspicious objects left unattended, people moving suspiciously and people entering locations they shouldn’t.

“Where Metro police can see what the camera sees.” After the crime has been committed and the thief is long gone, that is. Nice job, Chief Lambert!

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.