DENVER (KDVR) — RTD is closer to making a major change in how the public transit service plans to keep riders safe.

FOX31 reported in February about a proposal by RTD’s police chief to increase the current force of sworn RTD police officers from 21 to 70 by the end of the year, doubling that to a total of 140 by 2025.

FOX31 spoke to riders who said they are relieved to learn of the updated security plan.

“Seeing a lot, what’s happening around Denver, especially Union Station area, I’m going to definitely feel a lot safer,” said Ryan, who commutes to work by train.

The Problem Solvers found at least 178 passenger reports of assault or injury during 2021 and the first two months of 2022. RTD reports a drop in crimes in 2022 at Union Station.

Riders who depend on the service to ride between home and work tell FOX31 they are growing more concerned about becoming victims of crime on platforms and inside buses and trains.

“It is the drug use, and a lot of people fight and stuff down here,” Michael Brock said.

RTD police to spread across service area

RTD will deploy a commander and officers across the 2,342-square-mile service area to be better equipped to respond to emergencies and keep the peace.

“This adds like another form of protection for people, knowing that they’re safe,” Lashana Williams said.

A major challenge is dealing with the fallout from Denver’s social issues, like homelessness.

RTD told FOX31: “RTD recognizes that many of the issues that impact its transit system are societal and extend beyond the agency’s vehicles, facilities, stops and stations.”

RTD maintains a partnership with law enforcement agencies in eight counties in an effort to provide safe, dependable service. The Denver Police Department told FOX31 that officers will continue to work closely with RTD’s security force to quickly address any safety issues.

RTD updated its Code of Conduct in June to help improve the personal safety of riders and asks customers to report unwanted, illegal or suspicious behavior through RTD’s Transit Watch smartphone app.

Tips are provided by RTD for those planning to use the system to travel to the downtown area for football games and other events.

Plan ahead, be patient and prepare for large crowds on platforms and trains. Note that Auraria West Station is closed during events at Empower Field at Mile High and check the RTD website for schedules before you travel and plan your trip.