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UTA releases report detailing ridership safety

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Posted at 9:33 PM, Nov 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-25 23:33:17-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Transit Authority touts itself as one of the safest transit systems in the country, but is that really true?

Thousands of crimes were committed along bus, Trax and frontrunner lines last year. UTA released its 2012 numbers but when Fox 13 asked for years past statistics for comparisons, those reports were not available.

"We just released the crime statistics for the year 2012," said UTA spokesman Remi Baron.

More than 40 million people hopped on a bus, Trax train or frontrunner last year. The numbers paint a pretty perfect picture of ridership safety if you ask UTA.

"Our system compared to other transit systems across the country is one of the safest," Baron said.

Ridership hit millions in 2012 with more than 21 million riding the bus, nearly 1.9 million using Frontrunner and more than 17.5 million taking Trax.

If you look at shear statistics, only a handful of passengers were victims of crimes. Approximately 3,400 crimes were committed along the transit lines last year.

Eighty-percent of the incidents included trespassing, fare jumpers and riders with warrants.

However, hundreds of passengers were exposed to crimes taking place near their public transportation route.

The most serious offenses included run-ins with drunks or drug users, mainly within 100 feet of bus routes. People were safer along Trax lines or frontrunner.

The report reveals bus riders were four times more likely to have their bikes stolen compared to Trax passengers. That's partly because there is more of a police presence on Trax.

"Every transit agency has some serious crime, we had some serious felonies that were committed but we try to monitor the line quickly by having our officers up and down the system," Baron said.

UTA has 60 sworn-in officers working the lines.