New RTD system to generate accurate crime stats

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DENVER -- The killing of an RTD contract security officer and shooting death of a civilian on RTD property mark recent high-profile violent crimes in connection to the travel agency.

The transit system serving Denver and its suburbs is extensive. And that’s the issue. RTD operates in eight counties and 44 cities, covering different jurisdictions served by different police agencies.

The transit district admits its crime statistics aren’t the best, but RTD leaders said that will soon change.

The men and women making up the hybrid RTD police force includes sworn transit police officers, contract police officers from various city and county agencies, and close to 300 contract security guards -- all armed and all working to keep the system safe.

While RTD said it annually receives high marks from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the transit agency is working to get a better handle on its own crime statistics.

“The issue is we keep our own stats," said Bob Grado, the transit police commander. "But because we operate in so many different jurisdictions, those agencies also keep stats."

RTD police do not always know about crimes only reported to city police dispatchers. But when something happens on an RTD bus or train, the transit police know.

Thousands of cameras throughout the system record not only people on transit platforms but also on moving buses and trains. The cameras capture nearly every inch inside transit vehicles. The images are monitored live by dispatchers in two RTD command centers.

Those dispatchers are hoping a new effort of gathering crime data will help keep even more people safe.

“The idea is to take our information, the Denver Police Department’s information, compile it, and then kind of connect the dots," Grado said.

RTD is working with city of Denver crime analyst experts who also have access to suburban crime data. RTD said that work, and new computer software, will give transit police a much better idea of what is happening on all of its properties.

Grado said progress is already being made on RTD’s new crime statistic system. It should be finalized by March.

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