KPRC's Dean reports on Park-and-Pillage failures; METRO tries to shield data from public

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KPRC-2’s Stephen Dean reports that METRO’s ongoing experiment with camera surveillance as a replacement for live security officers at the Park-and-Pillage lots is still going poorly:

The Houston Metropolitan Transit Authority reported that 271 camera failure reports have been filed since January 2008, with 10 instances of entire Park & Ride lots being offline and invisible to police officers who are supposed to watch the cameras for crime.

Some METRO police officers told Local 2 Investigates the problem is much more widespread than those numbers suggest. Those officers said they are being posted at Park & Ride lots nearly every day in response to crimes that were never detected by the network of 354 cameras.

Surveillance cameras

So, the camera system that was supposed to enhance public safety and cut labor costs doesn’t seem to be working out all that well.

A well-run, responsive public organization might reconsider the whole cameras-as-replacement-for-security gambit.

METRO, on the other hand, responded as it usually does:

METRO transit headquarters has filed documents in an effort to keep quiet about its camera failures. In response to a Local 2 Investigates request for complete camera maintenance and outage reports, METRO filed with the Texas Attorney General, asking that the documents be kept secret.

That’s outrageous — but not surprising.

Recall that METRO chief Frank “Procurement Disaster” Wilson once asserted that METRO operates “in a completely transparent manner.”


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Photo by flickr user Andyrob used via a Creative Commons license.

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