Sandy Councilman Wants UTA to Patrol TRAX Stations

Sandy Councilman Wants UTA to Patrol TRAX Stations

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SANDY, Utah (AP) -- City Councilman Scott Cowdell contends TRAX stations in Sandy are seeing too much crime and the Utah Transit Authority should be forced to patrol them more often.

Cowdell said the UTA's conditional-use permit to operate its two light-rail stations in the city could be revoked if it does not comply.

"We're the only ones trying to solve this," Cowdell told council colleagues this week.

UTA officials said they already have stepped up patrols in Sandy due to a recent increase in reported crimes.

"We put more effort in patrolling that area," said UTA Public Safety Manager Ross Larsen.

Police Chief Steve Chapman said the UTA's focus rarely ventures from the trains or the station platforms. There are security cameras at the stations, but they seldom pan to provide surveillance in the parking lots, he said.

Larsen said each park-and-ride lot is patrolled at least once daily, and, as in the Sandy case, patrols become more frequent when trends emerge.

The Sandy Civic Center Station is the UTA's most popular light-rail parking lot. The UTA also has been exploring establishing a third station to serve Jordan Commons and a possible soccer stadium.

There were 76 vehicle burglaries and thefts at the two stations in 2002. The numbers dropped in 2003 to 51 and dropped in 2004 to 49. The stations had 33 vehicle crimes halfway through 2005.

Police officials said they are paying extra attention to light-rail stations.

The department's six-member Community Resource Team has been ordered to focus on vehicle crimes, focusing on the two light-rail stations and three other parking lots in the city.

Assistant Police Chief Ron Bullock said that although the vehicle crimes at the parking lots are high in relation to the rest of the city, the lots still are safe.

"I don't want (people) to think that it isn't safe and you shouldn't park your vehicle there," he said.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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