Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What Goes On In Vienna's Creepy Tower?

We heard yesterday about how Metro is adding 20 surveillance cameras to stations in DC and VA, but "CS" on the Orange Line wonders where this monstrosity fits into Metro's beefed up peeping program. It sure is ugly.
Certainly one of the more interesting sights on my daily downtown commute on the Orange Line is the Shawshank-style prison tower that lords over Vienna station. (It decamped, temporarily, at least, to downtown DC where it sits near Judiciary Sq. ostensibly as part of National Police Week.) It sets a bleak tone that matches the mood when Metro runs into its periodic problems. So what gives, Metro, with this nod to Big Brother?
A marking on the tower calls it "Sky Watch," and the license plate pegs it as "Tower 2" of the Metro Transit Police Department.
No doubt Metro will say it's part of some security effort to make us all safer. But is it just a decoy?
Are there people up there watching, hidden behind the tinted glass? Are they surveilling everyone, and not just the would-be bad guys? Are they watching the women, as police have been known to do?
Can the cops demonstrate that whatever function this tower might serve, it's more effective than plain ol' walking the beat? Is razor wire next? For the imagery this tower conjures, there had better be some benefit. What we've got here is failure to communicate.
According to ICx Tactical Platforms, the maker of Sky Tower, it offers "an array of surveillance options."
Every tower includes the basics for the comfort and safety of the officer inside through adjustable heat and air conditioning, tinted sliding glass windows and comfortable seating. And no matter the application, only one man is required to set up and deploy a unit ... Now, one officer can cover an area previously requiring three or more personnel.
Sounds good for the officer, but what about the people who have to walk by this intimidating structure every day? As you can see here, NYPD uses their towers in very different climes from Vienna Metro.

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8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not exactly Crown Heights! Jesus Christ Metro!

Anonymous said...

They have one of those at Greenbelt, as well, behind the Kiss & Ride lot.

Anonymous said...

There is/was a rent-a-tower @ tunnel entrance to L'Enfant, next to Potomac. Never saw anyone in it. HTF can he get down quickly?

Anonymous said...

Several women have been attacked in the Vienna metro parking lot. If this helps keep people safe, I don't care how ugly it is.

Dan said...

Welcome to the police state where our streets become prisons and everyone is guilty until proven innocent. The police can't be everywhere to protect you no matter how hard they try. Remember folks, criminals will always prefer defenseless victims!

HurricaneDC said...

I don't get how you guys go from watch tower to police state. This probably gives the officer a good view of the area so he can observe any crimes in progress.

To make this effective though, there ought to be a squad of Transit Police at every metro station. Or at least here in Vienna, so that if the observer sees something he can call it in to one of the guys on the ground.

Anonymous said...

Walt Disney World has these all throughout their parking lots. Sea World does as well. If this will help the safety of people riding the Metro. What would you rather have? People still attacked at the Metro. It blows my mind that people complain about stuff like this.

Anonymous said...

west hyattsville metro station had one placed in between the park & ride and kiss & ride lots sometime in the last 4-6 weeks. I've never seen this one in its fully erected state, but I'm wondering if they anticipate a need in the near future?

Glad I'm not the only person who's seen one of these near their metro stop. I only bothered to figure out what this tower was after hearing about a similar effort at Zucotti park to spy on Occupy protestors

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