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42 recordings from their surveillance systems as evidence in these areas would provide guidance to transit agencies and in court. The increase can be attributed to higher quality could preclude costly and time-consuming litigation. images being available from upgraded camera networks and also to courts having become more accustomed to accepting video images as evidence. PATRON AND EMPLOYEE AWARNESS AND PERCEPTIONS OF VIDEO SURVEILLANCE The media tend to be intrigued by video evidence. Cases in which it plays a role are frequently publicized widely The vast majority of agencies (31 of 41) notify patrons that in local newspapers and on television stations, where the surveillance cameras are in use. As with record/image reten- video image is often shown frequently on news programs. tion, whether to notify patrons of the presence of surveillance Two typical examples include a 2006 arrest made in con- cameras may be strictly an administrative decision or may be junction with a stabbing that occurred on a GCRTA trolley based on state regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in after the assailant was identified based on video images. At 1967 in Katz vs. United States (389 U.S. 347) that there is no the time, GCRTA said that videos were not viewed in real reasonable presumption of privacy in a public place. Following time at its command center but that drivers were trained the reasoning of United States vs. Knotts (368 U.S. 276) in 1983 to activate the onboard system when an incident occurred that persons traveling on public thoroughfares had no reason- to ensure that the data was recorded over (Gural 2006). In able expectation of privacy, the same applies to transit facilities. a similar incident, in 2009, video cameras in place on an MBTA bus led to the arrest of five people who were charged In addition to meeting legal or regulatory obligations with assault with a dangerous weapon (Irons 2009). In Phil- to provide signage or other notification, such as periodic adelphia, police were able to arrest a suspect who is alleged announcements on the use of video, signage indicating the to have attacked a SEPTA passenger with a hammer. presence of video surveillance has been seen by many agen- Although other passengers ignored the assault, the suspect cies as a way to enhance patron's perception of safety and was later identified after surveillance video that aired on security. In providing examples of the signage used by a local television resulted in his identification ("Philadelphia number of transit agencies, Maier and Malone (2001) noted Police Make Arrest..." 2008). that most include phrases such as "for your protection," "for your safety," for your safety and security," or "for your In addition to indicating that video had assisting in crimi- safety and comfort." Others simply stated that the vehicle nal prosecutions, almost as many agencies (32) reported that was equipped with cameras or that cameras may be onboard they had used images from their surveillance systems as (p. 26). Maier and Malone noted that many agencies used the evidence in employee disciplinary actions. The two ques- words "may be recorded" rather than "is recorded" because tions may or may not be related, but of the 39 agencies that the latter implies that cameras are always operating, which reported whether they had seen a reduction in fraud/injury may not be accurate. This may raise legal issues if some- claims based on their surveillance systems, 25 answered yes thing were to occur at a time when the cameras were not and 14 answered no. Fraudulent claims may come from a in operation. Similarly, if signage implies that cameras are number of sources other than employees, such as "ghost rid- monitored, patrons may mistakenly believe that if they have ers" and individuals who claim to have lost items or been a problem, it is being viewed in real time and that someone injured in some way on the agency's property. will be dispatched to help them. The relationship between surveillance evidence in disci- Patron perception surveys could assist agencies in learn- plinary actions that result in a reduction of internal fraud/ ing more about whether the existence of surveillance sys- injury claims appears to be fruitful area of further study. tems leads to less fear among riders. Surveys could also help A better understanding of whether there is a relationship to determine whether existing signage is properly under- between the presence of surveillance cameras and employee stood by riders and others making use of transit facilities, fraud and/or discipline would be of particular value because yet relatively few agencies report having measured patron the issue of cameras in operator/cab areas has become a perceptions of security since surveillance was installed. A prominent and controversial one and is likely to become a few who had not measured it said it had existed since the labor/management negotiating issue. beginning of revenue operations and believed their patrons would not be able to make any comparison with how they felt As surveillance systems proliferate in public areas, many without surveillance. Of the 32 agencies that answered, 12 civil liberties groups have filed or have indicated they are had measured patron perceptions through surveys or other planning to file lawsuits surrounding this. A review of exist- instruments; 11 of these stated that patrons reported feeling ing laws, pending litigation, and any existing model policies a higher sense of security (Table 15).
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43 TABLE 15 of the 31 replies, 22 said no and 19 said yes. On a transit sys- HAS AGENCY CONDUCTED PATRON PERCEPTIONS tem where virtually all operating employees are unionized, SURVEYS MBTA has included unions and employee organizations in Perception Yes No its decision to install surveillance technology, which is used Measured patron perceptions since 12 29 onboard vehicles only in passenger areas. An interesting surveillance was installed area of study would be whether older systems or those whose Patrons indicate a higher sense of 11 N/A employees are covered by union agreements are more likely security to consult with employee representatives. Also, newer sys- Note: Figures total 41 responses; two agencies did not respond. tems that included surveillance as part of their initial plan- N/A = not available. ning may not have a need to consult with employees because utilization of surveillance does not represent any change in Only nine agencies had measured employee perceptions working conditions. of security since the installation of video surveillance tech- nology. Similar to patrons, some employees have worked Quantitative data can be useful for agencies to compare where such equipment has always existed, which would their own practices with those of other agencies. Quali- make it difficult to determine how effective a measure it is tative information, which is generally provided in a nar- of their feelings of security at their work sites or, on the other rative format that makes it easy to highlight details and hand, whether they believe it is there solely to monitor their point out lessons learned, can also help agencies to learn productivity or adherence to work rules. All of the agencies from others. Chapter five provides case studies to assist that had measured employee perceptions said that employ- transit professionals who have been and will continue to ees reported a higher sense of security. Agencies were also make decisions on the purchase and use of surveillance asked whether unions or employee representatives had been systems by comparing their own situations with those of consulted in the decision to install surveillance technology; other transit systems.