DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the past year, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has faced multiple, violent problems at its light rail stations – from a teen attacked and killed for his iPod – to a man opening fire at a station.
With the State Fair of Texas opening on September 28, and DART ridership sure to increase as a result, CBS 11’s Steve Pickett took a look at security on the transit line. He spent an evening, right after rush hour, riding the most used rail line, the red line. He wanted to see how safe customers felt, six months after DART initiated a huge hike in police and security presence on the light rail system.
Lisa Bergman, one of DART’s 70,000 daily riders, says she notices a difference. “Every ride that is 30 minutes long or longer, I will see at least one fare checker or DART Police come through each train.”
The increased presence started after the third of three violent and deadly light rail incidents – two shootings and a teenager killed after being pushed into a moving train. Now, fare enforcers, or police must ride the rails. DART says criminal activity is down about 17 percent. Robberies and theft are down, and the sense of security appears to be up.
“I think its a lot better since they been on here. Pretty much everyday we see either DART Police or Dallas Police officers,” says DART rider, Chris Northrup.
Anthony Adams agrees. “I think it is safer now, with police on each train. They show their presence. I think it’s more safe and comfortable now.”
Crime hasn’t disappeared on DART trains or stations. But DART’s goal is to make sure riders feel safe using the system. The goal will be tested over the next four weeks. The fair generates the largest volume of rider traffic for the rail line.