MetroLink Task Force Report Shows Continued Progress Creating a Safer Transit System in Quarter 3
The MetroLink Task Force Incident Report for Quarter 3 (July – September 2022) indicates that greater security presence across the entire Metro Transit system is continuing to create a safer transit environment for public transit customers in the St. Louis region. Operators of the Metro Transit system and its law enforcement partners at St. Louis County Police, St. Louis Metropolitan Police and St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and its contracted security partners at Allied Universal continue to be united in providing a more proactive approach to policing. This approach has resulted in an increased number of incidents being addressed this year over last year and sends a very clear message that crime is not tolerated on the MetroLink system. This proactive approach is contributing to increased MetroLink ridership, with boardings up another 7 percent from Quarter 2 of 2022 to Quarter 3 of 2022, as people increasingly turn to the system to get to work, school and recreational activities.
Proactive policing deters crime, reduces disorder, reduces fear of crime, or remedies specific concerns in a given area, through police efforts that occur before a crime is committed. The shared commitment to this proven approach is translating into a majority (62%) of incident reports on the MetroLink system being self-initiated and generated by Metro Transit’s police partners. This alternative community policing approach also includes creating a safer, more secure transit environment by incorporating mental health and drug treatment resources on the Metro Transit system through a successful partnership with Chestnut Health Systems. In addition, law enforcement partners and the contracted security team support and endorse Metro Transit’s Rider Code of Conduct, which focuses on improving the overall rider experience by addressing nuisance behaviors on Metro vehicles, platforms or transit centers.
“The effectiveness of proactive policing comes from its ability to deter crime as our law enforcement partners take action prior to a crime being committed, allowing riders to feel safer while on the MetroLink,” said Kevin Scott, General Manager of Security at Bi-State Development. Bi-State Development operates the Metro Transit public transportation system in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois over a 550 square mile footprint. “With more secondary officers assisting full-time police officers and deputies, as well as Metro Transit Security Specialists and contracted Allied Universal security officers assigned to MetroLink, we have the right team in place to continue to ensure the positive trends continue.”
A total of 178 incidents were reported in the Third Quarter, consistent with the 177 reported in Quarter 2 and up from 153 reported in Quarter 3 of 2021. Incidents per MetroLink boardings during Quarter 3 also were on par with Quarter 2, holding steady at 10 per 100,000 boardings (.0001). Nearly a third (28%) of Task Force incidents were warrant arrest, helping to remove known offenders from the system.
Security will be further bolstered after gated entrances are added to all 38 MetroLink stations on the light rail system as part of a $52 million Secure Platform Plan. More than $10 million in private funding has been committed to the project, which also has the support of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern, Metro Transit’s three transit partners. All three local government entities help fund Metro Transit operations through sales tax collections. HNTB, a national engineering firm based in Kansas City, is currently working on the design of the new access gates, with construction expected to begin in 2023. It is expected to take 24 to 30 months to complete the project once it is underway.
“The progress we’re seeing with each quarterly Task Force Report is being driven by the continued collaboration between Metro Transit and its dedicated partners as we work in tandem to deliver a safe transit system and serve our growing customer base,” said Taulby Roach, Bi-State Development President and CEO.
Incident data is provided to Metro Transit by its three law enforcement partners, the St. Louis County Police Department, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Visit MetroStLouis.org/safety-and-security/community-reports to access the full Quarter 3 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.