Due to the increasing rates of attacks on commuters in public transport vehicles and trains, the need for surveillance cameras in such modes of transport has reached critical levels. Attacks on innocent people in trains and buses are on the increase, and these people do not have the means to protect themselves. Victims of such attacks need to see justice served against their attackers, but how can this be possible without proper evidence.
Consider the case of the 24-year-old woman who was raped and murder on a bus as her boyfriend watched. The woman eventually died from the injuries she received from the ordeal.
Although the culprits were eventually apprehended, the life of a bright and promising young woman was lost. The fact that the culprits were eventually apprehended using evidence from a roadside CCTV makes the need to have surveillance cameras installed in public transport vehicles greater.
The woman’s boyfriend was eternally tormented by the experience and could not be expected to testify effectively before the court. This is because of the emotional torment that he had to endure, and the utter feeling of desperation and helplessness to protect his beloved girlfriend. In courts, a culprit is either incarcerated or exonerated based on the presented evidence. If a victim or witness is unable to produce evidence properly, culprits are likely to be set free.
This is a double tragedy to the victims and their families, and it can be solved by simply installing surveillance cameras in public transport vehicles and trains.
Although the problem of raping commuters is more common in India, San Francisco can serve as a role model to other states and nations by installing surveillance cameras in public transport vehicles. After the rape and murder of the 24-year woman, another woman was also attacked by a transport bus driver who attempted to rob and rape her (NDTV par. 1).
Presence of surveillance cameras will deter potential safety and insecurity threats to the innocent, weak, and physically impaired members of the society. The innocent includes young school going children who are unaware of the daily dangers they are exposed to as they commute to and from school. The weak members of the society include the sick and elderly individuals who lack the strength to physically fight their attackers.
Most of the women may also be considered to belong to this group since they cannot engage in brawls with men. Members of the society who are physically impaired include individuals with severe injuries, blind or have other bodily deformations.
Although there have been concerns about the issue of tracking the communication and movement of people, surveillance in buses is important in protecting such vulnerable groups. It is not possible to determine whether an individual is a pedophile from his or her appearance. However, these individuals can permanently change the lives of young children by sexually assaulting them.
Sexually molested children are forced to endure a life of shame and regret, although they were not responsible for the experiences they had to go through under their molesters. Sometimes, the emotional damage done to children is irreparable, and some eventually commit suicide or become violent as adults. The children are the future of the country and should be allowed to grow as normally as possible.
Even though cases of children being raped in public transport trains or buses, there have been cases of children being raped in other countries. Consider the case of a 14-year-old girl who was raped in Punjab by a truck driver, or the 18-year-old girl who eventually committed suicide after being raped by a gang, and police did not arrest her rapists.
Individuals with physical impairments are also exposed to attack because they cannot defend themselves. These individuals end being bullied or losing their property to their attackers. This should not be allowed to continue, and such cases can be prevented by simply installing surveillance cameras in public transport vehicles and trains.
Surveillance cameras are also important in the collection of vital evidence and prevention of fraudulent claims. Altercations between passengers and employees of commuter services may arise due to many reasons. Sometimes, these altercations degenerate into physical fights, which may result in considerable injury.
Since such incidences may result in litigations, compensation demands being made on the company or insurance claims which all are bad for the publicity of the companies, public transport companies strive to protect their customers and employees from such situations. For instance, a court exonerated a Californian man in 2010 after videotape records showed that he had been falsely accused of an attack on a Muni driver (Aparton par. 1).
Such false accusations are damaging to the reputation of an individual, and show that a company’s employees are untrustworthy and can behave irresponsibly. This illustrates the necessity of surveillance in public transport vehicles and trains because employees of these companies have shown that they can also make falsified claims.
Another example where a Muni bus employee made falsified claims occurred in 2012 when the driver, Velma Louise Jones, made a false claim of a robbery attack while she was at work on June 1, 2012 (Ho par. 2).
Ms. Jones used her claims to fraudulently seek for compensation but was later charged with various felonies after a surveillance video showed that she had lied while reporting the attack. Without such surveillance tapes, the truth becomes harder to determine, and court cases may become unnecessarily prolonged.
The cameras can also be used for other crucial purposes such as assessment of employees of public transport companies. The competition to have loyal customers loyal to specific public transport companies is high because commuters have the liberty to choose from many options. Commuters may choose to travel via bus or train, and the number of companies offering these services is high.
Consequently, it is critical for companies offering these services to appraise services offered by their employees. However, appraisal using supervisors onboard is likely to provide false results since the employees are likely to modify their behavior. Opinion from commuters may also be unreliable because some commuters would not wish to jeopardize another person’s employment.
Using surveillance cameras enable constant observation of the behavior of transport company employees and helps in proper assessment of the employees. This help in improving the quality of services offered by the employees and helps in the training of other employees (Notbohm par. 7).
Surveillance cameras in public transport vehicles and trains also help in curbing incidences of fare evasion. The captured images are used in identification, tracking, and prosecution of such culprits, and this helps in ensuring that these companies do not lose revenue from such activities.
Another method of addressing the safety and insecurity issues affecting commuters using public transport vehicles and trains is by employing security guards. Since security guards are extensively trained on identification and prevention of security threats, they help in deterring and curbing insecurity threats on commuters in public transport vehicles, commuter trains, and stations.
The July 7, 2005 suicide attacks on the London subway, which resulted in 52 deaths and multiple injuries illustrate the need for security guards in subway stations and trains. In September 2012, an eighteen-year-old was robbed of his belonging after alighting from a commuter train near Glen Park neighborhood (CBS SF par. 1).
The mugger seemed to be aware of the teenager’s movement and was expecting his arrival at the station. Presence of security guards at the station would have prevented the mugging from occurring. The teenager’s refusal to seek medical attention or record the incidence with law enforcement officers shows that he was greatly disappointed by the security.
Although civilians are expected to be the first to ensure their safety, some incidences have shown that this is not so. For instance, a 20-year-old San Francisco State University student was shot in a commuter train in 2013 while his fellow commuters were too engrossed on their smartphones to notice the killer pull out his gun and repeatedly point it at random directions (O’Connor par. 2). Security guards are needed in commuter trains and buses.
At the end of a busy day, passengers are understandably tired and eager to reach their destinations. Smartphones offer them good distractions from their monotonous journeys although expose them to danger.
Employing security guards in the commuter trains and buses will ensure that the passengers are safe from such security threats. Security guards can also help the elderly and sick commuters in boarding the right buses and trains, and also alighting at the right terminals.
Plainclothes security guards can also be used to curb insecurity in some routes. This is because villains will not be aware of who the actual security guards are in their midst. The villains will find it difficult to attack other commuters since they will fear being apprehended. Uniformed security guards can also help in curbing insecurity in commuter vehicles, trains, and stations.
Villains who see such uninformed will behave well and not attack other passengers even though they would seize any opportunity available to do so. Although security guards help in reducing insecurity for commuters, many companies face budgetary and personnel constraints which limits their ability to establish the presence of security guards in their vehicles, trains or stations (Transit Cooperative Research Program 2).
However, it is important to note that the security and lives of commuters are important to public transport companies. As a result, these companies should seek ways of enhancing the security of commuters. Security cameras offer cheaper and long-term solutions although their initial costs are high. This is because once they are installed, the costs needed to maintain them is low unless they are vandalized.
However, this only occurs in very rare and extreme cases such as during hijacking incidences. However, security guards are also important because they can promptly respond to any security threats. Metal detectors can also be placed on doors of trains and buses to alert drivers and security guards of potential guns in the trains. This will help them be more prepared to respond to any unseen situations.
Aparton, Tamara. Tourist acquitted of attacking Muni driver. 2013. Web.
CBS SF. Teen SF Muni passenger robbed at knifepoint after exiting light-rail train. 2012. Web.
Ho, Vivian. S. F. Muni driver accused of fabricating attack. 2014. Web.
NDTV. Banglore: Driver allegedly throws woman from bus after rape attempt. 2014. Web.
Notbohm, Rodell. How transit video surveillance systems play an important role in security and efficiency. 2013. Web.
O’Connor, Lydia. San Francisco train passengers too distracted by phones to notice shooter’s gun in plain sight. 2013. Web.