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Hundreds Of Cameras To Watch Over DART Riders

By Jay Gormley, CBS 11 News
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Passengers board and exit the DART public transportation system at the St. Paul Station in Dallas. (credit: DART)

Passengers board and exit the DART public transportation system at the St. Paul Station in Dallas. (credit: DART)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly 69,000 passengers ride the Dallas Area Rapid Transit light rail system every day during the work week.  As DART expands into other cities, protecting those riders is becoming a daunting task. Now the agency is going high-tech by installing hundreds of cameras at all of its rail stations.

One man who was beaten and robbed Friday night at the Dallas Convention Center DART station couldn’t agree more with the strategy.

The victim, who wants to remain anonymous, was left with a bloody eye and several stitches along his eyebrow.

“I was coming home from work and two guys approached me and asked me for a bus pass,” said the man. “They grabbed me from the back. We tussled. They took $4 and beat me up.”

Battered and bruised, the victim is anxiously waiting for police to review surveillance video, because the Convention Center DART station is one of only a few stations with security cameras.

DART’s camera plan was part of the 2009 Green Line project, but it’s been slow going.  At one point, only six rail stations had security cameras. DART now says it’s speeding up the process and plans to have all of its 55 stations monitored by cameras by the end of the year.

DART spokesman Mark Ball says new cameras are being installed this week at Union Station in downtown Dallas.

“It’s going to provide a sense of security for our customers,” said Ball.  “The second thing is, it’s going to assist law enforcement and it will hopefully be a deterrent.”

DART says it will cost $6 million to outfit every station.  Part of the money will come from green line construction funds; the rest will come from Federal Homeland Security dollars.

With the addition of more and more stations, DART says its 200 police officers are being spread thin and cameras are one way to beef up the force.

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