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June 30, 2009 | 5 Comments

Context, Expectations and Perspective

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On Sunday, June 28 a Metro Security officer on patrol at the Civic Center Station at 14th and Spruce was approached by a 52-year old male passenger who informed him that a woman used a pocket knife to cut his forearm.  Metro Security called for assistance, and when the train pulled into the next station, the 20-year old woman was taken into custody.  In her statement to police, she said she and her friends argued with the man.  The woman was arrested and charged with assault.

While we wish that these incidents would never happen, they do.  It happens wherever people are, and public transit is unfortunately not the one place in our community that we can expect to be crime free.  A quick scan of media reports on violent crimes in our area over the last couple of weeks revealed dozens of unfortunate incidents.

We take the safety of our customers seriously.  One assault is one too many.   Fortunately, in this case, the quick response of law enforcement led to an immediate arrest and assistance for the injured passenger who had a two inch cut on his arm.

Metro shares a lot of similarities with many other businesses, but we are unique in that we have thousands of people traversing our system 21 hours a day, seven days a week.  That’s why we protect our riders with sworn police officers in uniform and working undercover.  We also deploy a large staff of professional security officers both contracted and on our staff.

Because we are a landmark and familiar to people, media reports crimes on or near Metro property that they may ignore if the same crime happened in a less familiar location, which can result in distorted context, expectations and perspective.  So know that while Metro is not perfect, we have systems and people in place to keep you safe.  Our security challenges may be greater than other businesses, but the incidents of violent crimes on Metro are very low.   And the safety of our customers remains our top priority.

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Safety

5 thoughts on “Context, Expectations and Perspective”

  1. Jimmy Z says:

    I basically agree with your comments. Still, the assault apparently occurred inside a vehicle, not on a platform or at a bus stop, so there’s no way to abdicate all responsibility. Are there video cameras operating on all light rail vehicles? Especially the ones in back, the ones without operators? Most criminals aren’t very bright, but if prosecutions were successful, based on video evidence, word WOULD get out on the street, and hopefully the current trend would be reversed. Metro (and us taxpayers) simply can’t afford to have a security officer on every vehicle and at every Metro facility at all times.

  2. Steve says:

    The real problem is security near Metrolink stations – a block or two away. Nothing you can do about that. We need stronger communities and neighborhoods.

  3. Courtney says:

    Jimmy,

    Yes, there are security cameras in all MetroLink cars and MetroBuses, and on MetroLink platforms. So if a crime does occur, we have access to security tape.

    1. Todd H says:

      And to add one more thing onto Courtney’s camera comment… MetroLink platforms are equipped with a communication panel that has a “Passenger Assistance Button.” Press that button in an emergency, and the Security Dispatcher will immediately be able to remotely control the platform video cameras to focus on you or whatever is happening at the time. As an added security measure, this responder can also dispatch Metro Security and/or local police, fire, or other emergency personnel to your location.

  4. Joe Blow says:

    I don’t think “abdicate responsibility” is a very fair characterization of the post. When people get mugged at a concert or at the Fair, no one blames the Fair or the concert – only the criminal. For some reason, St. Louis’s transit system gets blamed for a whole lot that is out of its control. I think so long as proper security measures are taken, and it sounds like they have been, the only responsibility a transit service has is to work with the police on investigations and respond quickly when people call for aid.

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