NEW YORK - The NYPD will now be observing over 100 MTA subway surveillance cameras as part of efforts to combat the city’s homeless problem.
The program will be run out of a joint crisis coordination center in Downtown Brooklyn.
The list of stations that will be monitored has not been released but officials say they are targeting “quality of life” and public safety concerns like sleeping below subway platforms and avoiding paying fares.
The initiative comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the MTA to add 500 new transit cops to its ranks.
However, the program has its critics, some of whom say it’s attempting to tackle a complicated problem in the wrong way.
“Just investing in some kind of surveillance system in the subways seems totally disconnected from the continuum of services we actually should be investing in,” said City Councilman Stephen Levin. “It’s really up to us as a city to re-examine this issue, think about what the right policy should be and then work to fund it.”
Levin says the city should be investing in "safe havens" and affordable housing instead of more police.
According to the NYPD, once someone believed to be a concern is caught on camera, officers and DHA rapidly deployed to assess the situation.
They've responded to about 120 cases since the program was implemented three weeks ago.
A spokesperson from the MTA tells FOX 5 News that the transit agency supports the surveillance program and the safety of its riders is its number one priority.