Trolley will Ensure Safe Rides

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Surveillance cameras, security office are major components for transit By Laura Vogltanz, ContributorSecurity for the mid-2005 arrival of the trolley at San DiegoState is more pertinent than ever with the recent violence witnessedat trolley stops around San Diego.

A 16-year-old girl was wounded in a shooting near a Logan Heightstrolley station Sept. 14, according to KFMB News. San Diego policesaid several teenage boys, who were arguing on the trolley, got offnear the corner of Commercial Street and Ocean View Boulevard about 4p.m., KMFB reported. A short time later, one of the boys allegedlypulled a gun and fired at least one round, wounding the girl in thechest.

The director of transit system security in San Diego, Bill Burke,said this was a gang-related incident that started at a high school.

“We’ve never had a shooting on the trolley,” Burke said. “This wassomething that could have happened anywhere, but it just happenedthat it exploded when dealing with our trains.”

Situations such as this are unavoidable, but with the addition ofSan Diego’s first subway station tunneling under SDSU, security is oneverybody’s mind.

Accounting senior Sarrah Bettis said she hopes the issue ofsecurity at the trolley station is well planned out.

“I plan on utilizing the trolley when I attend graduate school,and with late- night classes, security is something I don’t want toworry about,” Bettis said.

SDSU Police Capt. Stephen Williams said campus police will be theprimary law enforcement agency for any incidents that occur at thecampus trolley station.

“The trolley will be in the patrol area of our officers from thebeginning of the X Lot to when it leaves at the C Lot,” he said.

The transit system security will also be patrolling the area.

According to Burke, the transit system has two types of officersmonitoring the trolley.

“There is contract security that provide security on both thetrolley and transit buses,” he said. “We also have code complianceinspectors who make misdemeanor arrests, like when a passenger hasnot paid the fare.”

Though there may be many officers, they are not always visible.According to Mark Nakamura, a frequent trolley rider, he seessecurity personnel on the trolley about once a month.

“Unless they are at one of the main stations like Old Town, it isvery rare that I see an officer,” he said.

While this may be disturbing, Burke reassures that the transitsystem has an excess of 150 officers.

“We staff the trains based on need, time of day and what is goingon in the field, so just because they are not seen does not mean theyare not there,” he said.

Lt. Eddie Gilbert of the SDSU Police said there have been manymeetings between SDSU Police, the transit system, the San DiegoPolice Department and the Fire Department regarding safety for theupcoming trolley.

“We have done many disaster preparedness drills,” Gilbert said.”We train for different scenarios, ranging anywhere from a terroristattack to drunk in public.”

In addition, the trolley will have many security systems providinga safe experience for the passengers.

“One major component of trolley security at the SDSU station willbe the security office located on the mezzanine level,” Burke said.”It will be staffed 24 hours a day.”

There will also be surveillance cameras installed and monitoredaround the clock, as well as towers from major cell phone providersguaranteeing cell phone service to passengers.

Students can also do things to make sure they stay safe.

“The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings,”Burke said. “If someone makes you uneasy, sit away from them.

“Students should ride the trolley during peak times of the day.”

According to Williams, early-morning and late-night riders will bemore vulnerable because there are few witnesses.

“Also, to prevent theft, keep your things close to you and avoidleaving them on a trolley seat,” he said.

Precautions such as these will ensure a safe riding experience. “Iwant students to feel safe when riding the trolley,” Bettis said.”It’s an asset to the city, it relieves parking congestion and itwill really benefit the college.”