CMPD hoping to take lessons from south to north as new rail line opens

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Along the new Lynx Blue Line extension, relevant lessons come from southern stations with a history.

Security on the tracks falls under the watch of CMPD Deputy Chief Jeff Estes, and he's aware trouble can come.

"We take lessons from what we learned in SouthEnd with the rail line and put that into place with for the Blue Line Extension," he said.

WBTV reviewed calls for service going back to January of last year at four stops heading towards the center city. One car was stolen at the 485 station, and there are several reports of what investigators describe as disturbances.

At the Sharon Road West station, came complaints of gunshots and two separate reports of fires.

Mayor Pro Tem Julie Eiselt heads up Charlotte City Council's Public Safety Committee, and is among those with a sense of anticipation as UNC Charlotte students will be using the rail system as a means of getting to campus.

"They may be traveling different hours than the normal population. So it's a different use of the light rail. That's for sure," Eiselt told WBTV.

Safety is a concern considering the numbers don't lie.

Police answered six calls for disturbances at the New Bern station.

And several blocks away, cameras and a security tower are showing a law enforcement presence, since larceny is among the offenses reported at this stop.

Past concerns getting CMPD ready for a present-day response.

"Officers in place, cameras in place," Estes said, "which is a good time to prevent crime and work with the citizens to do so."

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