DALLAS (CBS11 I-TEAM) -Tuesday, the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors will vote whether to spend $1.7 million for an additional 30 security officers.
The extra private security guards will allow DART to place a guard on every train.
DART officials said the additional private security guards are needed to help change the public’s perception that crime on DART trains has gotten worse.
However, the CBS11 I-Team discovered this is more than just perception.
From 2014 to 2015 there were 53 violent aggravated assaults either on DART trains or at DART stations, according to police records.
The last two years, there has been 88 aggravated assaults – a 60 percent increase.
DART Deputy Chief Matt Walling said the number of aggravated assaults at DART stations is similar to the crime rate in the neighboring communities.
“It’s perception,” he said. “We are trying to address the perception of crime.”
In July, Jones told a group of young men to stop smoking pot on the train.
They then spit, kicked, and viciously attacked him. When the train arrived at the Deep Ellum Station, the beating tumbled out onto the platform.
Video of the attack was recorded on a cell phone and later posted on YouTube.
“All I needed to do was get hit a couple more times and I would have been done,” Jones said. “I really felt like I was about the leave this world. My spirit was standing at the door and waiting for one more hit.”
A month earlier, another rider was attacked at the same Deep Ellum Station.
That same month, a woman was raped near another nearby DART station on Green Line.
The I-Team found nearly half of the 88 attacks in the past two years took place along the Green Line.
“If you ask anyone on the train if they feel they are being protected, the general consensus is no,” Jones said.
In the past several years DART has added lights and cameras to the platforms and launched the DART Say Something safety app where riders can anonymously report crimes.
DART continues to add video cameras to its trains with the goal of having all 160 trains equipped with cameras in the next two years.
DART is also proposing is spent another $1.7 million for 30 more private security guards.
However, many riders, like Jones, said that’s not enough.
Jones said more DART police officers, not just security guards, are needed.
Other riders said more security is also needed on the platforms and parking lots where the I-Team found the vast majority of the attacks take place.
Walling told the I-Team he believes the additional guards will make riders feel safer but did not go as far to say the additional security guards will reduce the number of aggravated assaults.
“We generally don’t have aggravated assaults on the rail system. They occur more in parking lots and other facilities. Certainly I am hoping that it will deter crime,” he explained.
Jones said more needs to done before he will feel safe riding DART again.
“I feel like there’s a lot more that can be done to secure the safety of the people because someone can get killed. That someone was almost me.”