Minnesota lawmakers discuss improvements for metro transit safety amid increase in crime

Lawmakers discussed a bill aimed at improving safety on the light rail amid an increase in crime during a hearing on Thursday.

The debate Thursday morning comes as light rail train stations across the metro have seen an uptick in violent crime. Most recently, a trans woman was brutally attacked by three people at the Lake Street station in Minneapolis on Monday. She suffered severe injuries including a fractured rib, a brain bleed and a collapsed lung. 

So far, two people have been arrested and charged with that attack. 

The Metro Transit bill would aim to add more ambassadors to the light rail in an effort to discourage crime. In January, Metro Transit officials said there was a 54% increase in reported crimes, a 28% increase in assaults, a 145% increase in weapon violations, and a 182% increase in narcotics use. 

Representative Brad Tabke, who introduced the proposal, said the bill aims to create a holistic and coordinated approach for the transit safety problem. 

"There's a lot of - 'no this is someone else's issue and this is somebody else's issue,' and it hasn't been a holistic, coordinated approach. And that's what the goal of this bill is, to have a project manager that will have a coordinated approach in order to make sure that we are actually taking action on these topics, to get people back on the trains, so that we have a safer, more comfortable ride" Tabke said during the hearing. 

Lawmakers delayed the vote on Thursday and did not come to a final decision, but Tabke said lawmakers will hopefully be meeting sometime next week.