DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After a sharp increase in major crimes on its lines, Dallas Area Rapid Transit was met with praise Monday night as it briefed the Dallas City Council on its plan to combat an uptick in assaults and other issues plaguing the commuter rail.
DART is planning to add security cameras throughout the rail system, and is also aiming to have some sort of security, police or enforcement officer on each train. In December, DART’s board of directors approved spending nearly $2 million on hiring 30 additional security guards.
While the plan was met with approval, some council members stressed that the move was long overdue.
During the last two years, DART has seen a 60 percent increase in aggravated assaults. In July 2017, the growing issue was highlighted in a now viral YouTube video. It showed a group of people attacking one rider after he told them to stop smoking marijuana on a train.
A spokesperson for DART said that the agency is averaging security camera installs of about two rail cars each week. The first 48 trains should be equipped with cameras by mid-March or April. The rest of the train cameras will by finished throughout the following year.
Riders said that the new technology is a good start, but the added officers will be better.
DART rider Phillip Turner said that he has seen numerous incidents on trains while commuting to work in the early morning, but he rarely spots an officer. “The young folks get rowdy,” he said. “Sometimes they smoke marijuana on the train. I got to be honest about everything. It’s ridiculous.”
The goal is to have all of the new manpower in place by this spring. “It makes me feel way better,” added DART rider Pauline Eno. “It makes me feel, you know, like they actually care for the riders. That’s a pretty good thing. That’d be amazing.”