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|July 24th, 2005, 06:48 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Keeping Canada's Transit Safe
Canada eyes cameras for buses, subway cars
Random bag searches also considered Federal review looks at security options
23 July 2005
The Toronto Star
OTTAWA -- Installation of surveillance cameras aboard Canadian buses and subway cars is among anti-terrorism options being studied as part of a federal review of transportation security.
The effectiveness of random bag searches and the presence of more uniformed officers at city transit facilities will also be considered by a working group helping Transport Canada draft a new security blueprint.
There are three elements to the exercise - preventing an attack, preparing for one and dealing with the aftermath, said Michael Roschlau, president of the Canadian Urban Transit Association.
"We need to do what we can within reason to make our systems secure and to provide a reasonable level of confidence for the travelling public," said Roschlau, whose association represents most city transit systems across the country.
He recently spent a few hours with a consultant assisting the federally sponsored working group on public transit. A report from the group this fall will feed into the overall federal blueprint on transport security to be published next year.
Closed-circuit cameras have assisted police efforts to track down culprits behind bombings on the London transit system.
Currently the technology is generally limited to stations and platforms in Canada's transit system. But the federally led study will examine placement aboard vehicles, Roschlau said.
"It would not surprise me if there would be more pressure to install more surveillance cameras on the systems, which to me makes sense," he said. Cameras would "make people feel more secure" and "allow for more eyes on the system" without necessarily bringing in more security people to patrol stations and vehicles, he said.
"There's some very interesting technology that I think would make that kind of a concept effective. And admittedly it doesn't come cheap. So somehow we'll need to find the resources to do whatever comes out of this strategy."
Roschlau acknowledged the initiative raises privacy issues, but suggested people were becoming more used to being on camera. For instance, some taxis are now outfitted with surveillance devices for driver safety.
The working group will also explore:
Replacement of standard garbage containers at transit stations with large, transparent plastic ones, in which it is difficult to conceal a bomb.
Making stations generally more terrorist-proof by ensuring there are no hidden corners where explosive devices might be hidden.
Random passenger searches, which have already been carried out in cities including Boston, New York and Washington.
A greater police presence, or placement of special transit constables, within systems.
Roschlau believes 100-per-cent security is unattainable.
"There are ways to minimize the risk, and I think that's really all we can do," he said. "There is no way that we can be absolutely foolproof in terms of securing the system. I think that's just unrealistic. It's just not possible without almost paralyzing the systems. The challenge is to find the tradeoff, to find the balance, which minimizes the risk without crippling the systems."
Another hurdle is finding the money for improvements.
The urban transit association wants the federal government to come forward with cash since it has primary responsibility for security and could ensure consistency across the country.
"There's no question that there will be a need for investment in this financially," Roschlau said. "And I think there will be a certain expectation for the federal government to step up to the plate on this one."
Washington has allocated about $130 million (U.S.) toward improving security of public transit systems.
|July 24th, 2005, 07:58 AM||#2|
Join Date: Mar 2005
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IMO I see BC Ferries being the biggest target not public transportation (god forbid) It would be so easy to pack a truck of explosives and drive onto a packed ferry and blow it up. I think we do need to be more vigilent(sp?). Explosive sniffing dogs and more CCTV but not to the point of search random people.
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|July 24th, 2005, 08:20 AM||#3|
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: █♣█ Vancouver
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We need more officers along where the US-Canada border isn't already well protected and more officers at the ports of Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax. As EdZed said, we definetely need more security for BC Ferries......60,000 people use the ferries daily and at rush hour, the largest ferries are at capacity and that means 2,000 people.
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|July 24th, 2005, 11:03 PM||#4|
Join Date: Sep 2002
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The second wave of bombings in London show that even with heightened security following the first wave of attacks, the terrorists can still find a way to target public facilities. While prevention is very important, the other side of the story - disaster planning, is also essential.