DART to boost spending on increased security

- Dallas Area Rapid Transit is promising to boost spending on security at stations and on buses and trains.

DART officials said security and safety are their top priorities. They are willing to spend millions of dollars to ensure that it’s kept up to speed.

A spokesman for the transit agency said officers are already on board ever single DART trains. But if one takes a lunch break or has to handle a situation, he or she may get off the train. DART wants to be sure there is a replacement officer available to take over, as well as cover areas that are needed surrounding the trains.

The DART board reviewed a study at its committee meeting Tuesday. The cost for the increased security could be anywhere between $2 million and $4 million depending on how many officers are hired. Currently, DART’s police department has 200 officers and 27 more are needed to meet capacity.

This is not the first time DART has addressed safety concerns raised by commuters. Last March, DART police rolled out an app called DART Say Something. It allows riders to quickly send photos, video or text reports of suspicious people or activities.

FOX 4’s Ashley Paredez talked to several commuters about how they feel about security increases.

“I was on a train when a man got shot earlier this year. And so I know that it is unnerving and would appreciate more presence,” said Matthew Gillings, a DART rider.

“Stuff be going on every day on these trains, people smoking and people fighting,” added Carine James, who is concerned about security. “There’s no security on them trains. So, I don’t think anything is going to change.”

Several high-profile crimes have happened on DART trains in the past. Last July, a passenger recorded on his cellphone a mob beating a man at a station. At least three people were arrested in that case.

DART’s spokesman said the level of crime has remained steady and is slowly decreasing. To help monitor all of these situation, the agency hopes to have all trains equipped with security cameras by 2020.

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