CHARLOTTE, NC November 12 2018
The addition of the Blue Line light rail to the University area has proved to be popular for most but not so much for the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus police department.
They say that the new extension has brought more work and more people to their area and that they have to increase staffing of officers.
One of the main reasons is that some homeless folks are showing up on campus after getting off at the light rail stop.
“I think anytime you have a mode of transportation that can transport large numbers of people you know it’s important to pay attention and ensure the passengers are safe and that there is security involved with that,” said UNCC Police Chief Jeffrey Baker.
Campus police say they’re seeing a troubling element arriving on campus on the light rail.
“Sometimes members of our transient population will show up and maybe be impaired and things of that nature” said Chief Baker.
Officers say trespassers on campus can be a problem and can add to the increase of criminal activity.
So far, Baker said that a dozen or so trespass warnings have been issued to transient people who have been found wandering around on campus.
“I see them on the train. I just can’t wait til they get off that’s all,” said Yeisy Nunez, who is a regular rider on the light rail. “Intoxicated or sleeping out in public by themselves. I don’t really feel safe all the time but they never bother me.”
“Almost every single day. It’s more at nighttime. They’re definitely getting on the train,” said UNCC student James Anderson. “I never really feel in danger but they’re definitely like overwhelming and so it can make you feel a little anxious from time to time.”
In an area where students and staff are constantly walking around, police say they’re keeping an eye to make sure intoxicated homeless passengers who come off the light rail don’t roam around campus.
“What we usually do is offer them transportation off campus and at the same time trespass them,” said Chief Baker. “If someone is clearly impaired that kind of thing we’re going to give them a trespass order right then and there.”
Police say a trespass order means if that person returns he or she could be arrested.
Chief Baker said that his officers are trying to stop things now before they progress into a bigger issue for students and staff.