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Video Surveillance for Buses

On buses, where the only authority figure on board is usually the driver (who clearly has his or her hands full), it's hard to maintain a tight level of security. Video surveillance cameras are working to help solve this problem. Many buses are now equipped with security cameras. By functioning as deterrents to criminal activity and inappropriate behavior, these cameras provide passengers and drivers with an added sense of security, and can also supply valuable evidence during criminal investigations.

View blog posts related to bus video surveillance.

Benefits of Surveillance Cameras on Buses

Protect drivers – Bus drivers must put a lot of faith in their passengers acting appropriately. Unfortunately, one never knows what type of riders will step onto the bus on any given day. The presence of onboard security cameras can help in deterring and investigating unacceptable behavior and aggressive outbursts directed towards drivers.

Enforce rider regulations – Bus rules and regulations are easier to enforce with a second set of eyes. It's common for buses to feature signs which mention the presence of video surveillance. Riders who know they're under watch are more likely to follow rules, pay bus fares, and obey driver orders.

Prevent theft – Onboard security cameras monitor bus activity, and act as preventative measure against acts of theft between riders.

Deter violence – The unpredictable nature of bus passengers throughout the day can at times lead to violent incidents. Such an incident could stem from an argument between riders, or a passenger under the influence of alcohol or drugs losing composure. Surveillance cameras can monitor for such unsavory activity, enabling operators to alert authorities should an incident break out.

Enhance passenger safety – Users of the bus system want to be confident that their mode of transportation is a safe one. Onboard video surveillance cameras give riders the assurance that authorities are doing everything in their power to provide a high level of security.

Crime investigation – Footage from onboard security cameras can prove valuable in criminal investigations of incidents taking place on buses as well as outside crimes involving specific suspects whose images may be uncovered.

Risks of Video Surveillance on Buses

Privacy – Some bus drivers are concerned that onboard security cameras will be used to tightly monitor their every move. Heading these concerns, some bus systems have chosen to not target cameras directly at drivers, but rather the areas around them so as to still provide driver security without breaching their privacy.

Vandalism – If a rider tampers with the onboard security cameras, there should be backup security measure in place in the event that a video signal is lost.

Examining Onboard Surveillance Systems for Buses

Consider the following factors when determining what level of video surveillance is required for a specific bus system:

  • What kind of security measures does the bus system currently have in place?
  • Does the bus system work closely with the police department in its safety efforts?
  • Do some bus routes travel through high-crime neighborhoods, thus requiring special attention in terms of security?
  • How late do the buses run?
  • Have there been reported incidents of theft on the buses?
  • Is there a history of onboard fights and violent acts between riders?
  • How safe do drivers currently feel?
  • Is it common for riders to refuse to properly pay bus fares?
  • Is there a history of incidents between riders and bus drivers?

Installation Advice for Security Cameras on Buses

  • Position a camera at the front of the bus that captures clear images of passengers as they enter.
  • In order to enhance driver safety, consider a camera that can monitor interaction between riders and drivers.
  • Use video surveillance to monitor all bus exits.
  • Install cameras that provide views of the entire passenger section of the bus in order to watch for inappropriate rider behavior and acts of theft and violence.
  • Consider cameras that provide exterior views of the bus and the areas around it
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