New cameras give RTD a clearer picture of crime

The Regional Transportation District is getting a clearer picture of crime, thanks to high-definition cameras at stations and on new buses and light rail trains.
In the past, some crimes and other incidents caught on camera have been so blurry, it's caused an uphill battle to find those responsible. And RTD has a lot to investigate.
"Last month we did 989 video investigations in this facility," said Transit Police Chief John Tarbert, adding that about 25-percent of those are criminal and the rest are EEOC and ADA investigations.
RTD said about 1,500 of its 8,000 surveillance cameras are now HD, and by 2017, it expects every camera -- 11,000 of them -- to be upgraded.
"It's much easier to follow someone when you see them in a clear picture," Tarbert said. "The older cameras, some of them don’t work as well as they used to."
All the cameras at RTD stations are transmitted live to a command center where dispatchers are watching closely. Tarbert said if someone picks up an emergency phone at a station, a camera will be trained on that area.
"These (command center employees) are all trained as 911 dispatchers we have direct radio contact to all fire and police agencies in our eight county district," Tarbert said.
Another way RTD is trying to improve safety -- it's launching its own Smartphone app in September. That will let you report a crime from your phone and send a photo. The tip will be emailed right to the command center and you can stay anonymous.
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