“I don’t feel safe anymore,” says Union Station Commuter; Return visit shows problems persist – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4) – Although police and city authorities announced an anti-crime plan on Thursday
which would continue to focus on issues in and around Union Station, some commuters say they still don’t feel comfortable at the transit hub.
“I don’t feel safe anymore,” said a woman named Jane who asked that her last name not be used. “I’ve cut down on my commutes and I’m trying to get a ride.”
Last Tuesday, during a morning interview at Union Station, she said she had been commuting between Boulder and Denver for four years. Despite a two-month crackdown on criminal activity in the Union Station area, she said she still felt uncomfortable transiting between buses and trains.
RELATED: RTD: Fentanyl found in Union Station bus station bathroom
“I think it’s not very safe anymore,” she said. She thinks the problem stems from the drug addicts who populate the area and can be aggressive.
” There are many. Fifty to 60 who are out of their rockers there,” she said, referring to the underground bus terminal. ” They are crazy. They run up and down screaming or shooting.
Jane adds that they block stairs and contribute to a dangerous atmosphere. Two days after his comments, Denver’s mayor and public safety officials announced a new anti-crime strategy.
Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen noted the problems at Union Station.
“We have challenges at Union Station,” Pazen observed.
Denver police, RTD and other agencies have been focused on cleaning up Union Station since media reports in early December 2021 highlighted criminal activity in and around the facility.
During their Thursday press conference, city officials said that since November 2021, they have made 522 arrests in the Union Station area.
“We are bringing the precision policing model to Union Station,” said Mayor Michael Hancock.
RELATED: Report Shows Union RTD Station Problems Growing for Years: 1/3 in Survey Feel Safe Using RTDs
When CBS4 visited last Tuesday, there appeared to be more transit police moving around the facility, but dozens of people with their belongings were sleeping in the underground bus station. Others appeared to use or sell drugs.
Workers outside could be seen looking for used needles to clean up.
Pauletta Tonilas, spokeswoman for RTD, said: “It’s definitely a work in progress.”
She reiterated the increased security presence at Union Station and said the agency has hired a full-time homeless outreach coordinator and four mental health clinicians. She said “many of these people are service-reluctant”, meaning they are not interested in the help offered.