Metro adding more officers, upgrading surveillance to keep rider - KMOV.com

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Metro adding more officers, upgrading surveillance to keep riders safe

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By: Kelly Davis, News 4

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Metro Transit's Public Safety Chief is calling on commuters for help after an increase in crime on its buses and trains.

Richard Zott, the public safety chief for Metro, said there has been a slight increase in crime on Metro Transit but majority of it revolves around disruptive behavior. He said the increase correlates to the surge in crime seen throughout the City of St. Louis.

“There's been a very, very small increase, its concomitant with the increase in the city, it's not a big increase, it's not like violent crime, it's more like disruptive behavior,” said Zott.

Zott said Metro spends about $11 million, $260,000 more than previously, on security a year to put a layered system in place. The layered system allows Metro to contract security officers, who can be seen on the platforms, public safety officers, who work for Metro, and local law enforcement, including St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Clair County. Metro Transit said public safety is their number one priority.

“I understand perception is reality in this day and age, and people are concerned about safety,” Zott said. “I take that concern very seriously.”

Zott told News 4 they that Metro is upgrading their surveillance system and that additional uniformed officers have been riding the trains too. He also said Metro has an undercover program which utilizes off-duty police officers to keep the trains safe.

“It's like hot-spot policing, if we know of an area that has been a particular problem, then we flood it with officers,” Zott said.

Zott said Metro will be also be sending officers to various other transit systems across the country to see how they are keeping commuters safe.

Zott urges anyone who sees something suspicious while riding the Metro to call 911.

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