Crime on Metro Transit’s light rail remains nearly 200% higher than 2019, according to data obtained by Alpha News.
However, crime is down 24% from 2020, when more than 3,000 crimes were committed on light rail despite a huge drop in ridership, which continued to decline last year.
According to data from Metro Transit, there were 806 crimes reported on light rail in 2019. That number jumped to 3,176 in 2020 and 2,407 last year.
Total crimes reported across the Metro Transit system last year totaled 4,594, compared to 5,591 in 2020.
Former Metro Transit Police Chief Eddie Frizell acknowledged the rise in crime in an internal email earlier this year, calling for a “surge [in] officer presence” on the trains to address public safety concerns.
“Improving public safety is a top priority for Metro Transit, and increasing the official presence on the system is key to accomplishing that,” Metro Transit told Alpha News in a statement.
“In June, Metro Transit released its Safety & Security Action Plan. This plan includes nearly 40 action steps towards making transit feel safer and more welcoming, including actions aimed at increasing official presence on the system,” the statement continued. “As part of efforts to increase presence on transit, the Metropolitan Council in July raised the starting wage for officers to $34.28 an hour and for community service officers to $25 an hour to help MTPD attract and retain personnel. Currently, MTPD has 113 officers out of an authorized strength of 171 and has 17 CSOs.”
Metro Transit said all of the light rail vehicles and stations are equipped with security cameras and emergency call buttons. The agency also invited customers to report suspicious activity using the “Text for Safety” service at 612-900-0411.