More officers combating crime on MetroLink -

More officers combating crime on MetroLink

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MetroLink (Credit: KMOV) MetroLink (Credit: KMOV)

It's been six months since St. Louis County officials committed to doubling the number of police officers patrolling MetroLink trains and platforms, but, with a shooting just last week at a North County station in Wellston, News 4 wanted to know if the increase in officers is making a difference.

In February, County Executive Steve Stenger said he would increase the number of officers from 22 to 44, but said it would take months to get to that point.

As of September, county police officials said they have 36 officers on the MetroLink beat, which includes four sergeants and one captain. The extra officers are being paid for with money from the Prop-A transportation sales tax passed in 2010. They work alongside officers from St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department.

County police leaders credit the extra officers with a change in crime statistics. They said some crimes are down, compared to this time last year. Robberies have dropped 31 percent and larceny is down 39 percent.

Other violations are significantly higher. Drug violations have jumped 123 percent, disturbances are 80 percent higher, and weapons violations saw a 22 percent increase. Police said, in a way, it’s a good thing because it shows more crimes are being identified by the officers. They argue the drugs were there before, now, they just have more officers to spot them.

One of the key improvements police want riders to know about is common assaults, because that's what impact every day riders, usually minding their own business. That has fallen 28 percent and leaders believe officer presence has a lot to do with that.

Violent assaults are nearly the same, with 10 incidents reported so far this year, according to St. Louis County Police.

Leaders with MetroLink say with 850,000 boardings a week on the Metro system, they feel the number of violent crimes is relatively few compared to the number of riders. Still, they say they are committed to improving safety and they feel more officers will help keep passengers safe.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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