Despite concerns the new Green Line light rail may bring more crime to the area, University officials and Metro police say that hasn’t been the case in the five months since the transit system opened.
Metro Transit police Capt. Jim Franklin said crime rates have remained steady on campus and in the area along the Green Line.
“I don’t see an uptick in crime on the University campus that directly correlates with the light rail,” said Franklin.
Franklin noted that while many along the Green Line were excited about its mid-June opening, some feared the rail would attract a few seedy characters. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota did little to quell their concern, as a survey of community members near the Blue Line found that they too associated the light rail with an uptick in crime, even if the data doesn’t support their sentiment.
University police Deputy Chief Chuck Miner did note a particular instance in late August in which two suspects used the light rail to flee after a robbery, but surveillance equipment near the station and on the rail helped identify the perpetrators. They were identified and arrested shortly thereafter.
Ross Allanson, director of the University’s Parking and Transportation Services said the overall sentiment among students hasn’t changed much with the opening of the Green Line.
“My feeling is that there’s been not a net negative or a net positive regarding crime on campus,” said Allanson.
Franklin added that transit use numbers around the campus area show that students are comfortable riding the light rail, offering a speedy option without the need to walk alone at night.
“I think what you’re finding is that students are embracing the light rail rather than fearing it,” Franklin said, “and we’re seeing that in our ridership numbers.”
Avery Appelman comments
The Green Line appears to be off to a great start in its first five months, and I haven’t heard any major stories about riders being victimized or assaulted. It seems like drivers or pedestrians crossing the light rail have had the most to fear since its inception.
The one thing I will caution riders about – and this goes for anyone in a downtown metropolis or on public transportation – is to mind your belongings, particularly your phone and purse. They can be easy targets for a thief who wants to grab and dash.
That’s not saying you shouldn’t check your phone or pound out a few Candy Crush levels while you’re waiting for your stop, but be cognizant of your surroundings. If someone is hovering a little too close to your personal space, secure your belongings and move to another location if possible. Stay near other passengers and if transit police board your car, it doesn’t hurt to mention the suspicious behavior.
Related source: MN Daily