Portland Streetcar riders will soon have an extra pair of eyes on them. That's because every streetcar in Portland is getting outfitted with security cameras.
"I know there is on the MAX, but I haven't seen any on the streetcar," one rider told FOX 12.
"I would've expected them, but I can't say it was necessarily a surprise to just find out they're just installing them," another rider said.
Dan Bower, executive director of Portland Streetcar, said they've been pushing for cameras for years.
But securing the up to $1.5 million dollars for the project, and also figuring out how to store the hours of data captured from the cameras, hasn't been easy.
"I think there is an expectation that we probably have cameras on the streetcar and we get calls from people when things happen, collisions on the street, people slipping and tripping or falling or alleging something happened on the streetcar and they're often surprised we don't have cameras," said Bower.
But a devastating event that turned the city upside down last year is one reason Bower said the city decided to speed up the process.
"Certainly the incidents last summer on the MAX were just horrific and I think that brought to the forefront the need that we need to do more from the community side to be sure that that doesn't happen on our trains," said Bower. "That our operators are safe, our riders are safe, but also if something tragic does happen, we have the ability to work with the police to bring resolution to that."
Bower said the plan is to have up to 12 cameras on every train by the end of 2018.
So what do riders think?
"Well I wouldn't mind because that would help security," said one rider.
"To be honest, I don't think cameras will change a lot," another rider said. "Maybe they can help you find who did it, but at the most when something is happening, it's not going to help you solve the problem."
But in the event that something does happen, cameras could help police solve the case.
"In fact, my friend's daughter had an incident on the bus that helped having the surveillance camera," one rider said. "They were then able to find the culprit so it is a good idea."
Bower said having cameras will also help them when submitting insurance claims, so they can prove what exactly happened.
Portland Streetcar is expected to get some of the cameras in this month and start installing them later this year.
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