MetroLink Task Force Quarter 4 Report Reinforces That Metro Transit Is Delivering a Safer Transit Experience
[ST. LOUIS, MO/March 8, 2023] The MetroLink Task Force Incident Report for Quarter 4 (October–December 2022) demonstrates continued progress creating a safer transit system during the last few months of 2022, capping off a year highlighted with steadily increasing ridership and a consistent approach to more proactive policing that ensured incidents on the system are being addressed. MetroLink boardings were up another 7 percent from Quarter 3 of 2022 to Quarter 4 of 2022, while there was a slight drop in the total number of incidents per boarding – 9 per 100,000 boardings (.00009), compared to 10 per 100,000 boardings (.0001) in Quarter 3.
“The collaboration between Metro Transit and our law enforcement and contracted security partners is creating a greater security presence across the entire Metro Transit system that is continuing to create a safer transit environment for riders in the St. Louis region who are increasingly turning to the system to get to work, school and recreational activities,” said Kevin Scott, General Manager of Security at Bi-State Development. Bi-State Development operates the Metro Transit public transportation system for the St. Louis region.
The proactive approach to policing continues to result in a high number of incidents being addressed this year over last and is sending a very clear message that crime will not be tolerated on the MetroLink system.
Proactive policing is police work that deters crime, reduces disorder, reduces fear of crime, or remedies specific concerns in a given area, with police action that occurs before a crime is committed. The shared commitment to this proven approach is translating into a majority (50%) of incident reports on the MetroLink system being self-initiated and generated by proactive policing.
A total of 145 incidents were reported in Quarter 3, down a little from the 178 reported in Quarter 3 and the 166 reported in Quarter 4 of 2022, when more secondary officers began assisting full-time police officers and deputies as well as contracted Allied Universal security officers assigned to MetroLink. This increased security presence resulted in a total of 660 incidents being reported in the 2022 calendar year, compared to 598 in 2021 calendar year.
A large majority of the incidents reported continued to be for Standard of Conduct (70%), which includes trespassing and the proactive removal of known offenders in violation of Metro’s Ride and Abide Program. Violent Crime accounted for 24% of incidents reported, which was a drop of 5% from Quarter 3. Weapon violations accounted for 32% of the violent offense types as Metro and its partners continued to focus on proactive crime-fighting initiatives targeting known “hot-spots.” Property Crime accounted for the remaining 6% of incidents reported.
“Proactive policing gives us the ability to deter crime as police take action prior to a crime being committed, and that’s really contributing to riders feeling safer while on MetroLink trains and station platforms,” Scott said.
The collaborative, proactive policing efforts that are yielding such solid results are part of a multi-tiered strategy to grow ridership on the Metro Transit system by creating a more secure transit environment. This state-of-the-art security plan includes creating centralized, highly secure customer entrances at all 38 MetroLink stations and one future station that will serve the new extension being built to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. The innovative, $52 million Secure Platform Plan has garnered more than $10 million in private funding commitments, and will convert the MetroLink system from an open access system to a closed access system – with access granted only through paid fare – and access to station platforms controlled through integrated fare collection gates. A new advanced, closed-circuit camera system and fencing around the stations are also included in the initial project plans. The first four stations that will be getting these improvements are in St. Clair County, Illinois: the Emerson Park and Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center Stations in East St. Louis; the Washington Park MetroLink Station in Washington Park; and the College Station in Belleville. These stations were selected because they will require minimal redesign and construction and are expected to be the least complex to implement.
Another significant advancement in the Secure Platform Plan is the completion of the Real-Time Camera Center that is now operational and uses cutting-edge technology to further ensure the safety of customers and team members. Metro Public Safety and the St. Louis County Police Department currently have instant access to nearly 800 real-time cameras located throughout the transit system and a direct connection to dispatchers, making it quick and seamless to send Public Safety or law enforcement resources where they are needed. This number will be expanded to 1,600 cameras as the Secure Platform Plan progresses, with additional cameras planned for each MetroLink platform and future plans to add live camera feeds to Metro Transit vehicles and connecting existing security cameras found at Bi-State Development and Metro Transit facilities.
“This new center offers capabilities that are a complete game-changer and significantly enhance our proactive approach to safety and security on the Metro Transit system and at bi-state development facilities,” said Scott. He is also the project leader for the Secure Platform Plan.
Upon station design completion by the engineering design contractor and the Secure Platform Plan team, the request for construction bids involving the initial project phase is expected to go out in late July. Construction could begin this fall with anticipated completion in approximately six months, contingent on weather and supply chain issues. Design will continue on other stations to be modified as part of the Secure Platform Plan with additional design packages being bid as construction on a prior phase begins.
“The latest investment in the Secure Platform Plan recognizes the call by area residents and elected officials for a more secure transit system, and underscores our deep commitment to rebuilding ridership and regaining the region’s confidence in this important regional asset,” Scott said.
Visit https://www.metrostlouis.org/safety-and-security/community-reports/ to access the full 2022 Quarter 4 report, which breaks down the incidents per the three transit jurisdictions: St. Louis County Police Department; St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department. Reports for prior quarters can also be accessed there.