Minneapolis news station uses public transport, sees open drug use, drug deal making

"It's a hard environment to work in, and it's a hard environment for our customers to ride in and feel safe in," Metro Transit's senior communications manager Drew Kerr said.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC
Those who use buses and trams in Minneapolis, Minn. have become increasingly weary about doing so as instances of open drug use and violence continue to increase. In response, Metro Transit has ramped up its security presence across the network, however, the problems persist.

On Tuesday, a team from local CBS News affiliate WCCO rode the rails for a few hours in hopes of uncovering exactly what was taking place onboard the city's public transportation.

According to WCCO, the team recorded footage on the blue and green lines. Lead reporter David Schuman explained that across the network they witnessed "open drug use," and "conversations and exchanges that looked like drug deals." Drug paraphernalia was also found littered around vehicles and on station platforms.

Schumer showed the footage to Metro Transit's senior communications manager Drew Kerr, who said it was "hard to watch." 

"It's a hard environment to work in, and it's a hard environment for our customers to ride in and feel safe in," he lamented. "We acknowledge all of that; these are very serious issues." 

Kerr went on to explain that Metro Transit had been attempting to remedy the situation by moving "more police officers" onto trains and station platforms to deal with those breaking the law and creating less-than-ideal conditions for passengers.

"We're doing what we can," Kerr said, noting that there weren't enough police officers available to have one on every train.

"This is a big issue," he continued, "lots of parts of society are being impacted here, and transit is a part of that. We're gonna need a lot of resources and help and partnership to have that answer." 

According to WCCO, 2022 saw a 50 percent spike in crimes along the Metro Transit network over the previous year, a trend that has been mirrored in other major American cities.

Drug use and overdoses have become such a common occurrence that Metro Transit was forced to release a statement warning that, "staff shouldn't assume people who appear to be asleep are not in need of medical attention."

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