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MBTA’s eye in the sky keeps watch over South End

MBTA’s eye in the sky keeps watch over South End

By Richard Weir  |   Sunday, July 31, 2011  | |  Local Coverage
MBTA camera

Photo by Rob Johnson

Criminals beware: The T cops have deputized Big Brother to keep an eye on you.

T police have parked one of their two Sky Towers near the Silver Line bus stop on Washington Street in the South End, in what is believed to the camera platform’s first deployment on a public street for something other than a community parade.

“We are working with the local community. They expressed some concerns about loitering at the bus stop and people conducting illegal activity, (mainly) prostitution and possibly drug activity,” said Deputy Transit Police Chief Joseph O’Connor. The T previously posted the 30-foot wheeled towers with tinted-glass turrets to watch over T-owned parking lots.

The cameras got positive reviews yesterday. “I don’t care about the surveillance, I’m not doing anything illegal at the bus stop so it’s good if it actually makes a difference . . . I would not mind seeing more cameras in the area, all the way down Washington,” said Simone Levien, 25, of the South End.

The high-tech, remote-controlled cameras have a 360-degree view and can zoom in on a license plate up to a mile away. The turrets can hold a cop, but are currently unmanned.

“The camera is running 24-7,” O’Connor said. “We felt that by putting the camera there it would allow us to go back and review any complaints we get from the community.”

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