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Light rail crime on the rise

With ridership numbers continuing to climb we wanted to know how Metro Transit plans to keep riders safe.

MINNEAPOLIS — Violent crime is up across the Metro Transit Light Rail lines this year, and KARE 11 reporter Kent Erdahl sat down with Metro Transit Police Chief Eddie Frizzel to find out how safety concerns are being addressed.

Here's a breakdown of the rise in serious crime (Rape, Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Theft, Auto Theft, Arson):

Blue/Green Line (Downtown Minneapolis):

  • 10% Increase in Violent Crime
  • 2018: 92 crimes
  • 2019 (As of Oct 31): 101 crimes

Blue Line:

  • 19% Increase in Violent Crime
  • 2018: 118 crimes
  • 2019 (As of Oct 31): 140 crimes

Green Line:

  • 34% Increase in Violent Crime
  • 2018: 172 crimes
  • 2019 (As of Oct 31): 230 crimes

"Admittedly, there has been an uptick but we're now analyzing that information of where it's occurring, how it's occurring, and then try to put our resources where we can mitigate that best," said Chief Frizzel.

Besides coordinating communication between its 141 full-time and 51 part-time officers, Frizzel says the Metro Transit command center continuously monitors cameras located on trains and platforms, and also follows complaints and social media in real time to respond to and anticipate problems. 

But with ridership continuing to rise beyond projections, Frizzel says keeping up with the activity of more than 77,000 people a day is challenging.

Chief Frizzel: "We want to make sure that we have the appropriate number of officers in the right places, at the right times, doing exactly what they need to do to help mitigate, not only the perception of crime, but the actual crime itself."

Kent Erdahl: "So how do you give people that peace of mind? Do you think it comes down to more officers?"

Chief Frizzel: "You can ask that question to probably any police chief in the region and they will probably say the same answer. You have to be smart with the numbers you have. As we continuously expand our operations, then it would lead to reason that we'd need more officers to just help facilitate the needs of the extra territory that we'll be responsible for."

If you encounter problems on a light rail train or platform, there are several emergency call buttons available. Metro Transit also has a “Text for Safety” number (612-900-0411) for passengers who want to report an issue silently.

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