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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Burglars and broken surveillance cameras at a popular Fort Worth commuter lot have some drivers calling for better security.
Sagar Khole was on his way home from work last month when he found that thieves had shattered his car window and stolen several items from inside. He had parked his Mercedes-Benz in a lot at the Trinity Railway Express CentrePort/DFW Airport Station.
“There was a squad car with an officer sitting in it, waiting for us to get there,” Khole said.
The Fort Worth Police Department confirmed that three cars parked at the station were broken into at some point during the work day.
Khole said that his car was parked right underneath a mounted camera. But when he requested video of the break-in though, he discovered that there was not any. “The cameras were not functional,” Khole said.
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which oversees the TRE stations in Tarrant County, admitted that it has had “some difficulty” with the cameras. In several parts of the station’s parking lot, only wires were hanging where it appeared that there should have been cameras.
“The cameras should be working if they are there,” said Khole. “They are mounted on the light poles, they should be working.”
When Khole complained, he said, security told him that he should arrive at the parking lot earlier and park closer to the train platform, where there are newer cameras that do function properly. “They don’t seem to care much,” Khole said. “Maybe true that they take care of security on their trains, but not at the stations.”
The Fort Worth Transportation Authority said that it is in the process of improving security. It recently increased the number of security officers patrolling stations — including some out of uniform and in unmarked cars. It has also budgeted $285,000 in the next fiscal year for new cameras.
In the meantime, signs will remind drivers to lock their vehicles and not to leave valuables inside.
Many commuters on Friday morning had no clue about the recent break-ins at the station, or the broken security cameras. “I think they should be working,” said driver Janet Mackay. “We do trust that these cameras are working, whether its downtown or anywhere. We’ve come to depend on cameras.”
“I see the cameras. This is my first time knowing that they don’t even work,” added driver Terrell Reeves. “I thought they were working all the time. Obviously not.”
Khole said that, until he feels that his car is safe again, he may give up commuting and just drive to work. “I may have to bite the bullet,” he said, “and decide to park in downtown Fort Worth.”