Metro launches new initiatives to increase safety and community engagement

Metro announced Thursday it is launching new safety initiatives to engage the community, target enforcement efforts and increase police visibility.

The Metro Transit Police Department has developed a three-pillar approach to invest resources in the community: education, outreach and enforcement. This approach uses a "problem solving police strategy" focused on identifying the underlying issues that may lead to crime and developing solutions for prevention.

"While crime is a community and regional concern, customers should feel safe on Metro, and that means using every tool at our disposal including investing in the community and partnering with local resources for essential services," said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "In addition, MTPD is strategically targeting enforcement efforts in areas where crime has increased."

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As part of the new initiatives, Metro Transit Police will establish a new Community Services Bureau, that will work with schools, neighborhood groups and mental health advocates to foster a collaborative relationship.

The department also hopes to make it easier for riders to report incidents. There will also be new signage posted in stations, trains, and buses featuring a QR code with MTPD’s text-tip number, MyMTPD (696873). Customers can scan the QR code with their phone to automatically add MTPD’s number to their contact list.

"Our customers provide additional eyes and ears throughout the system, and we encourage them to be alert and contact MTPD if they see anything suspicious," said Chief Anzallo. "We also have thousands of cameras on buses, trains and in stations that provide a valuable tool to identify and arrest anyone who commits a crime on Metro."

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The second pillar of the new initiatives focuses on outreach. As part of this pillar, MTPD will host pop-up events at Metro stations meant to bring together MTPD officers with the residents they serve. The department will also develop partnerships with community groups to address essential service needs of those who are homeless or in mental health crisis.

The third pillar, enforcement, uses a strategic approach to increase patrols of uniformed and plain-clothes officers at selected rail stations and buses based on crime data and trends. The goal is to provide higher visibility, reassure riders and discourage criminal activity. Officers will be staggered in shifts, to provide a greater police presence during the evening rush hour. Additional officers will also be placed at major bus hubs.

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Metro will also launch a new anti-harassment public awareness campaign next month. The campaign is part of an ongoing effort that began in 2012 to raise awareness and combat harassment in the Metro system.