ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A MetroLink employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, says that inadequate security at stations is a common occurrence.
“For a long time this place has not met the security needs for the passengers, there is a big crime problem on the MetroLink period,” he said.
He said he’s patrolled for MetroLink for years and under old leadership crime wasn’t as bad.
Individuals had peace officer training and where equipped to handle and address crime.
“It was activated, or acting like a police department, like it should have been or like it should be,” he said.
In recent years he said those trained officers have resigned and more under trained security personnel have been hired.
News 4 got a hold of a 2018 audit the MetroLink had conducted.
Back then the findings suggest the current relationship with local law enforcement presents challenges and a potential for significant risk to the security of the transportation system and its customers.
“I’ve seen homicides, I’ve seen shootings, I can’t even count how many fights,” he said.
The audit also suggests MetroLink form their own police department.
“What was in that report should have been put into action,” he said.
MetroLink responded in this statement saying;
There are many different solutions to providing effective security on a transit system. Metro Transit now has the basis in place for a cooperative approach with our police partners. Contracting with our law enforcement partners to handle policing the system works within the existing capacity of our well-established professional police departments and makes sense for Metro Transit, our transit riders and for the region.
The recent security study conducted jointly with WSP and East-West Gateway Council of Governments is one that is sensitive to the unique jurisdictional challenges of our two-state transit service. Consequently, we are now under contract with all three of our professional police partners – St. Louis County Police, St. Louis Metropolitan Police, and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department. This provides the basis for an in-depth, professional and courteous relationship. A successful future for transit security involves exactly this type of relationship, based in trust and contractual understandings with our professional police partners.
Bi-State Development President and CEO
However, the anonymous security guard said there’s been times when police partners on the west side of the Mississippi haven’t fulfilled their duties.
News 4 contacted the St. Louis City and County police departments, who are those contracted police departments.
Both deny the guard’s allegations and sent the following statements.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department;
Our MetroLink Unit consist of 6 uniformed patrol officers, 1 Sergeant and 1 Lieutenant who cover 16 hours a day, 365 days a year.
With the hard work and effort of this unit, we have increased fare enforcement by issuing 532 more tickets in 2019 than in 2018. MetroLink officers have also had 64 more arrests in 2019 than in 2018, and the result of those arrests are 249 more charges, 23 of which were felony charges, compared to 2018.
In 2019, we have also created the position of an investigator (included in the 6 uniformed officers mentioned above) who has made several high-profile arrest and clearances of crimes. This investigator role also allows the MetroLink unit to work more closely and effectively with district officers on incidents that occur not only on, but around MetroLink property.
We have continued our efforts to improve relationships with the St. Louis County Police Department by partnering officers from both departments on a routine basis. Additionally, we have made great strides by working closely with our partners in Bi-State to improve our response times and efforts on the system.
With these improvements, we have seen a 50% reduction in Robberies compared to 2018 and a 58% reduction in larcenies. While we have seen an increase in simple assaults by 29%, we have been able to reduce crime by 41.5% overall in 2019 compared to 2018.
Officers are working hard every day to continue to make improvements in crime reduction for 2020. We are looking forward to working with our partners and the community to keep people safe on the systems.
PO Michelle Woodling
Public Information Officer
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
St. Louis County Police Department
That information is in stark contrast to the 12,732 foot patrols and 15,883 train patrols conducted in the 2019 calendar year by the women and men of the St. Louis County PD.
We have 44 officers assigned to the Bureau of Transit Police and may increase our footprint even further. The women and men assigned there patrol the trains, platforms, and surrounding areas in a variety of ways to combat and deter crime. Sometimes those patrols will be in their vehicles, other times on foot, other times actually riding the trains. There has to be balance in the different ways the patrols are done to be most effective.
In 2019, from January 1 to December 16, there were 25 Part I crimes. That number is a 19.4% decrease from the 31 of the same time period in the previous year.
In 2019, from January 1 to December 16, there were 391 Part II crimes. That number is a 10.9% decrease from the 439 of the same time period in the previous year.
Additionally, 59 firearms were seized by our personnel in 2019.
The collaborative relationship we have with our partners at Metro is stronger now than ever. We are all committed to making the MetroLink as safe as possible for its ridership and the facts demonstrate that.
Sergeant Benjamin Granda
St. Louis County Police Department
Despite crime reductions, several security officers said there is still a safety problem with the MetroLink