Detroit to add surveillance cameras to city buses

Feb 17, 2014

Detroit is installing surveillance cameras on city buses.

Recent months have seen an increase in fighting and harassment on Detroit Department of Transportation buses, sparking a reaction from city officials and the police department.

A unit of undercover police officers is now riding some of DDOT's more problematic bus lines, according to Elvin Barren, commander of the Detroit Police Department's Organized Crimes Division.

He calls the new surveillance cameras a positive development in making Detroit's buses safer.

"I think it will have a direct effect," he said. "Once the citizens and that critical element know that their behavior is being captured on video, it will serve as a deterrent."

He said the camera footage will also allow officers to more efficiently prosecute crimes.

"It will give us an opportunity to extract that video, identify these individuals, have the evidence to prosecute once we get them in custody, those who come on those buses and perpetrate some of these crimes," he said.

The city is expected to equip 50 buses with surveillance equipment within a month, an effort that's being funded by the federal government. The Canada-based mobile surveillance company SEON is providing the cameras, according to The Detroit News.

Correction: This story has been corrected to clarify that federal dollars are funding the surveillance cameras, which are being provided by the Candian company SEON.

Jacob Axelrad, Michigan Radio Newsroom