Metro Stations to Get Surveillance Cameras
A grant from the Department of Homeland Security means Metro stations will have added surveillance, though not for another six to twelve months.
Supporters of safer Greenbelt Metro are one step closer to getting their wish.
Metro announced last Thursday that each of its 86 stations will be outfitted with new surveillance cameras, thanks to a $2.8 million grant from the Department of Homeland Security.
A documented increase in crime was the main impetus behind the decision to install the cameras, the Washington Times reported. Data presented at the Metro Board's Safety and Security meeting showed that Metro-related robberies and thefts hit a five-year high in 2010.
Though the cameras will be installed system-wide, the Greenbelt Station is in particularly dire need of added security, since it is one of three stations with the highest instances of violent crime -- New Carrollton and Branch Avenue are the other two.
The 153 cameras will be rolled out over the next six to twelve months, said Metro spokesperson Lisa Farbstein. She said it's too early to determine the order in which stations will have their cameras installed.
College Park residents have been fighting for months to have cameras installed at the station after a young woman was sexually assaulted on the path from the Lackawanna Street entrance last May. In August, more than 300 residents signed a petition supporting increased surveillance along the path.
Fazlul Kabir, who spearheaded the petition, worries that the cameras will be placed with the intent to combat problems like bike theft, rather than the violent crime the petition sought to have addressed.
"The money that came through ... came for different reasons, not because we pushed for it," he said, adding that the cameras are being installed to remedy issues that other stations face, and will not necessarily be positioned along the long, poorly lit path on which most of Greenbelt Metro's problems occur. "They completely ignored the petition. They basically said 'We don't care about it.'"
That said, Kabir said anything is better than nothing.
"Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to ask that at least one of the 153 cameras be put on our side," he said.