BART officials said this week that they have completed installing security cameras in all of their train cars at a cost of $1.42 million, with the money coming from the transit agency's operating budget.
BART committed in January 2016 to using working cameras on all train cars after it was revealed in the aftermath of a fatal shooting on a train at the West Oakland station that month that not all cameras were real and many of them were decoys that were used as a deterrent.
BART officials said the new cameras bolster their existing security infrastructure network, which includes cameras on platforms, inside and outside stations and on police officers themselves.
The cameras and digital recording devices provide high-quality images from onboard BART trains and each car has four cameras on board, according to the agency.
"The installation of new digital cameras demonstrates our commitment to public safety," BART police chief Carlos Rojas said in a statement.
"These cameras will be an effective tool for solving crimes that occur on the BART system by helping investigators to identify suspects. The devices will also serve as a deterrent to prevent some crimes from ever occurring in the first place," Rojas said.
BART officials said the cameras have a useful life of six to seven years, which coincides with the time it will take for the agency's aging train cars to be retired from service as BART welcomes a new fleet of cars, which have been designed with built-in cameras.
The transit agency said its original in-train camera deployment included a mix of real and decoy cameras that were installed in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a deterrent against vandalism.
Now that every car is outfitted with a working camera, BART officials said any rider who becomes the victim of a crime should take note of the number of the car they were in.
That number is posted above the end doors of each car and having that number will make it easier for investigators to track down the video associated with any report of criminal activity.
BART's use of decoys was discovered after 19-year-old Carlos Misael Funez-Romero of Antioch was shot and killed on a San Francisco-bound train as it pulled into the West Oakland station at about 7:45 p.m. on Jan. 9, 2016.
The suspect, who is still at large in the unsolved case, then fled from the station into the neighborhood.
In the course of the investigation, police released surveillance photos of the suspect leaving the West Oakland station but didn't release photos from inside the train car.
-- Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News