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Addressing your Link security concerns

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Your safety on our services is Sound Transit’s top priority, and we take any event that threatens the safety of our passengers and staff very seriously.

The homicide on a train late at night in the downtown tunnel was horrifying and tragic, and we mourn the loss of this young person’s life. We also know this alarming and tragic act understandably raises very real safety concerns.

Even though violence around and on our system is exceedingly rare, passengers and staff want to know that they are safe when they are waiting at our stations, riding our trains and buses, or accessing our park and rides.  

Sunday’s incident further emphasizes the importance of actions we’ve taken and continue to take to have an increased security presence on our trains and at stations. We’re doing that to reassure you that riding Link is still very safe.  

Over the past year, we have significantly increased the security levels in our system. This is part of a comprehensive effort to make you feel more comfortable and safe riding on our system.

Recognizing that staffing shortages had increased during COVID and had created a growing gap in security presence on our system, the Sound Transit Board approved an increased budget including four new security contracts in early 2023.

On-site security presence across our system is now more than twice as large as it was in 2022. There are more than 480 Transit Security officers in total. This is in addition to more than 65 King County Sheriff’s officers who serve as the agency’s transit police. 

These changes are making a difference. For many areas, security officers have a direct eye on the system and can immediately respond to and prevent security issues as they occur.

This alone has created an increase in the number of overall security incidents reported to security leadership. Even so, overall numbers of assaults on passengers are low.

From June of last year, when we started our new accounting system, to the present, there have been 256 assaults on passengers. To put that in perspective, our ridership during the same period was well over two million boardings each month.

Even those relatively low numbers are a concern, and we are working hard to reduce them as much as we can.  

We also have more real-time insight to direct our presence where most needed to increase rider and staff safety.

We recognize we cannot be everywhere at once. Our increased security staffing includes a new team of Public Safety and Security Field Activity Specialists in the system 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which has decreased our average response time to incidents by more than half, from 10 minutes to five minutes.   

We see the issues and we understand them, and we want you to know that riding all our transit services remains very safe. If you ever feel unsafe or need security support, we urge you to text Sound Transit Security at 206-398-5268.  

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