Increased Security Presence on Trains

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tim49424

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Surely, I can not say with any certainty. But, the homeless that I witnessed in downtown Seattle were just that....homeless. Using public transport to get to the See's Candy Store in downtown Seattle was an eye opener for me. The plaza near the Store had many such folks. They didn't bother me nor me them. I saw no offensive behavior nor any reason that would make me think they were anything more than...homeless.

"What you do for the least of these, you do for me." Words spoken by Jesus. Our society and individually: have we forgotten this?

I was told by my SCA on my way to Seattle that there was a murder committed right in front of the court house. That was the dealbreaker for me as my original intent was to take an about five block walk to a place called Biscuit *****. I just wanted to check it out because my next meal was coming around 7.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Ive encountered them in Seattle and always WAS. I do talk to them. When I was in my 20's I had lost both parents and was down to my last $50 and had gas in my car. I solved the problem by not being too proud and built chain link fences for 6 cents a foot.1000 feet a day. I did not have a roof over my head. I resolved not to be poor and retired at 49. Its tough for lots of these folks but most are drug addicts or alcoholics and prey on folks in the train stations.
The honest truth is that not all people are employable. Some are dysfunctional addicts. Some are mentally deficient. Some are physically disabled. Some adults are burdened with a child's comprehension. In a population numbering hundreds-of-millions there will be millions of unemployable people. Our current system isn't setup to handle many of these people, other than to throw them in prison. A solution which won't get them off drugs or provide them with employable skills but will make it virtually impossible to secure a living wage when they get out. In the years since we declared a "war on poverty" the number of laws penalizing homeless people has increased, funding of non-veteran working age social services has decreased, minimum wages have fallen relative to inflation, credit checks have become ubiquitous, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, and our prison system has been turned over to a for-profit industry. I'm glad everything worked out for you, but you can't make a rational policy out of telling homeless people to resolve not to be poor so they can retire in their forties.
 
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PVD

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NY National Guard, and occasionally certain NYPD units may be seen reularly in NYP with rifles. Pretty sure they are M4 models, they come in a couple of versions with different firing modes (semi & 3 round burst, the other is semi auto or fully auto) I'm not sure who carries what.... I've never seen APD or MTAPD or NYSP with rifles in NYP, that doesn't mean they haven't deployed with them, it just means I haven't seen them....
 

Bob Dylan

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NY National Guard, and occasionally certain NYPD units may be seen reularly in NYP with rifles. Pretty sure they are M4 models, they come in a couple of versions with different firing modes (semi & 3 round burst, the other is semi auto or fully auto) I'm not sure who carries what.... I've never seen APD or MTAPD or NYSP with rifles in NYP, that doesn't mean they haven't deployed with them, it just means I haven't seen them....
You should have seen the Dog and Pony Security Show that went on @ NYP during the Republican National Convention @ MSG in 2004!!
 

Sauve850

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The honest truth is that not all people are employable. Some are dysfunctional addicts. Some are mentally deficient. Some are physically disabled. Some adults are burdened with a child's comprehension. In a population numbering hundreds-of-millions there will be millions of unemployable people. Our current system isn't setup to handle many of these people, other than to throw them in prison. A solution which won't get them off drugs or provide them with employable skills but will make it virtually impossible to secure a living wage when they get out. In the years since we declared a "war on poverty" the number of laws penalizing homeless people has increased, funding of non-veteran working age social services has decreased, minimum wages have fallen relative to inflation, credit checks have become ubiquitous, healthcare costs have skyrocketed, and our prison system has been turned over to a for-profit industry. I'm glad everything worked out for you, but you can't make a rational policy out of telling homeless people to resolve not to be poor so they can retire in their forties.
Your make valid points. Many of the folks I come across in the train stations i travel from i believe could be employable. They simply need a dose of motivation to exit the hustle artist life.They can also be disruptive and frighten passengers. Last two trips from Seattle there was no evidence of law enforcement. I support social service groups here in south Florida that help those individuals seeking a better life. Our county is looking to fund a multi million dollar project to get folks out of their tents and into sufficient shelter with meals, medical care and resources. The facility is already in place.
 

tomfuller

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For the first time ever in many thousands of miles on Amtrak over 18 years, I saw an Amtrak Police officer riding northbound on the Coast Starlight. He had his wife/girlfriend with him. He was a native of the Bronx. I told him that my first Amtrak trip was about 5 weeks after 9/11 from WAS to NYP.
It is possible, I suppose that he was heading to Seattle to work on the homeless problem at King St.
 

MARC Rider

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100% Agree!

(I suspect it is directly related the the legalization of recreational pot in the state of Washington.)
I suspect it's more due to the rapid increase in housing costs in the area combined with a shortage of work for unskilled people. Why should legalization of recreational pot cause large numbers of people to go homeless and start panhandling aggressively?
 

Anderson

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I suspect it's more due to the rapid increase in housing costs in the area combined with a shortage of work for unskilled people. Why should legalization of recreational pot cause large numbers of people to go homeless and start panhandling aggressively?
Yeah, this isn't crack in the 80s...
 

Qapla

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In the city near where I live they opened a place for the homeless. They built raised platforms for the tents so the homeless would not have to deal with the wet ground. They are providing meals, showers, restrooms and several other services.

Many, many homeless will NOT use the place. Their reason ...

... too many rules (as stated by several who were interviewed for the local news)
  • they don't want to clean up their trash
  • they don't want to be told they have to be quiet late at night
  • they don't want to "share" the shower or restrooms
  • they are not allowed to have drugs
  • they are not allowed to get drunk
But, then, we don't have a local train depot - maybe the homeless are different around depots
 

Bob Dylan

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In the city near where I live they opened a place for the homeless. They built raised platforms for the tents so the homeless would not have to deal with the wet ground. They are providing meals, showers, restrooms and several other services.

Many, many homeless will NOT use the place. Their reason ...

... too many rules (as stated by several who were interviewed for the local news)
  • they don't want to clean up their trash
  • they don't want to be told they have to be quiet late at night
  • they don't want to "share" the shower or restrooms
  • they are not allowed to have drugs
  • they are not allowed to get drunk
But, then, we don't have a local train depot - maybe the homeless are different around depots
Nope, it's the same everywhere!( And a Serious problem for the Homeless and Society as a Whole.)

Our Politicians need to actually do something instead of Spouting Rhetoric and formenting Hate towards these unfortunate Souls.
 

Anderson

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In the city near where I live they opened a place for the homeless. They built raised platforms for the tents so the homeless would not have to deal with the wet ground. They are providing meals, showers, restrooms and several other services.

Many, many homeless will NOT use the place. Their reason ...

... too many rules (as stated by several who were interviewed for the local news)
  • they don't want to clean up their trash
  • they don't want to be told they have to be quiet late at night
  • they don't want to "share" the shower or restrooms
  • they are not allowed to have drugs
  • they are not allowed to get drunk
But, then, we don't have a local train depot - maybe the homeless are different around depots
I confess, there comes a point where I they just need to be "trespassed" (banned, or perhaps banned unless they either hold a ticket or intend to buy one). If their reasons for not wanting to use provided facilities are those first two points, that's on them. Oddly, I have a certain sympathy on the drunk/drugs front in those circumstances but I also understand the need to bar them from a given facility.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Many, many homeless will NOT use the place. Their reason...too many rules (as stated by several who were interviewed for the local news)
  • they don't want to clean up their trash
  • they don't want to be told they have to be quiet late at night
  • they don't want to "share" the shower or restrooms
  • they are not allowed to have drugs
  • they are not allowed to get drunk
One reason many of these projects fail is because they presume alcoholism, drug addiction, disorderly conduct, and filthy living are choices that can be reversed at will in response to food, shelter, and a list of rules. This is not a rational assumption when dealing with people who live on the streets and lack a support base. If you're living rough while suffering an addiction to drugs or alcohol your concept of productive behavior will be very different from those with careers and families. Your primary motivation will be to feed your addiction as often as possible and it will take more than three hots and a cot to successfully overcome the withdrawal process.
 
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Dakota 400

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Our Politicians need to actually do something instead of Spouting Rhetoric and formenting Hate towards these unfortunate Souls.
And, the social network that has been so fragmented over the years needs to be funded. (Yes, I am willing to pay more taxes to do so.)

And, at least in my community and State, the need to properly fund Children Protective Services to prevent the abuse and needless death of children ought to be a priority. Not with the Ohio General Assembly: got to keep those taxes low--and then, let's reduce them some more!
 

Qapla

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The city of Ocala, Fl was recently named the most unfriendly city in the US for the homeless. This is because they passed an ordinance that prevents anyone from sleeping/living on the streets and/or park areas of the "downtown" area that they have spent considerable time, money and effort to revitalize. People started being afraid of going to the downtown area after the revitalization and recovery because of the constant harassment from people begging for money and wouldn't take "No" for an answer. Once it was cleaned up, the homeless decided it was a good place to "move in to" and left debris that needed cleaning up. The business people and the city were tired of the daily cleanup of the filth, empty alcohol containers, needles and condoms.

Since the new ordinance, they say things are better in the downtown area - the Mayor said, while he does empathize with the homeless need, they also have an obligation to the tax-paying citizens and business people that area. They have setup places for the homeless to go - but, just like near me, that is not where they want to go ... no one there to beg money from.

Since the passing of their ordinance, there are a couple "organizations", not ones from/in Ocala, that are trying to have the ordinance overturned.

I do what I can to feed my family and pay my bills. I have offered some who hold up signs that say, "Will work for food" to take them for a meal and even the store for food if they will help me with my work - not a one has ever taken me up on it ... but, several have cussed me out because I wouldn't just give them money. Generally, if they are smoking while begging, I am not inclined to give them my hard-earned money - if they can afford tobacco, they have more money to waste than I do.
 

pennyk

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MODERATOR NOTE: Please keep your comments on the topic of increased presence of security by Amtrak Policy on trains. Thank you.
 

Qapla

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But .... it's just so doggone easy for a thread to drift off topic .....

I guess one concern of increased APD (or any other police) on the trains would be that, if they are actually "traveling" on the trains, not just getting on and then back off at stops, is "where do they sit"? Are they taking revenue producing seats from paying customers - seats that may already be full or are they taking seats off the number available for paying passengers?
 

jebr

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Again, this thread is only for discussion of Amtrak Police, specifically its reported increased presence on the trains. All other discussion must take place in a new or appropriate existing thread, in the appropriate section (non-transportation issues generally belong in The AU Lounge.)
 

MikefromCrete

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The original post involved Amtrak increasing security ON the trains not in stations and adjacent neighborhoods. There seems to be an increase in assaults, robberies (?) on the trains. Has anybody noticed this? Most of the problems on trains seem to revolve those who have abused alcohol.
 

MARC Rider

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The original post involved Amtrak increasing security ON the trains not in stations and adjacent neighborhoods. There seems to be an increase in assaults, robberies (?) on the trains. Has anybody noticed this? Most of the problems on trains seem to revolve those who have abused alcohol.
Luz Lazo reported in the Washington Post that "criminal incidents" peaked in 2018, they went down in 2019, but not to the level of 2017. He didn't break down the "incidents" by type (i.e, obnoxious drunk getting booted off train vs. armed robbery, mugging, purse snatching, etc.). I wonder if the Amtrak Police Department has statistics on crime on board the trains.
 

tricia

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I think we don't have enough information to discern whether increased Amtrak police presence on trains is an effective response to a real problem--or just security theater.

The DECREASE in "criminal incidents" from 2018 to 2019, together with the lack of specificity about "criminal incidents," makes me suspect security theater. Although I'm unsure what the decision makers at Amtrak would think they might gain from that--other than pleasing highers-up in DC, who gin up political support by stoking fear. As, for example, the Border Patrol agents who recently told me to "be safe" after compelling me and all other vehicles to stop at a checkpoint along I-10 in CA or AZ.

Sorry if that latter point is considered off-topic. Amtrak IS a federal gov't entity, and federal policing policy does seem relevant here. To me at least.
 
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The original post involved Amtrak increasing security ON the trains not in stations and adjacent neighborhoods. There seems to be an increase in assaults, robberies (?) on the trains. Has anybody noticed this? Most of the problems on trains seem to revolve those who have abused alcohol.
Hi MikefromCrete I have bern riding Amtrack since 1985 and recently alot more across Country trips and have notice alot more people who are abusing alcohol and the staff who are serving on the train are not cutting them off like they sholud be which causes others on the train to be effected . I think this issues sholud be looked at more closely.
 

basketmaker

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If you look and talk American, border patrol is a simple question. Amtrak PD on the other hand.... they are determined to question you and will search your roomette.

Your mileage may vary....
Yes they will at least the Reno Police Department Drug Interdiction Unit will! I was "profiled" by NCIC, RPD and Amtrak's computer systems as a potential "drug mule". I booked last minute overnight trip (just for the heck of it) from DEN to SAC and return the next day in a roomette. Well all the triggers of someone in illegal drug running or drug money laundering were tripped and my itinerary was flagged. Reno's Drug Interdiction plain clothes (t-shirts, shorts, jeans) officers ride Amtrak between Reno and Truckee then return the same day. There were 4 on this day.

Well after departing RNO I was in the lounge taken pictures when a guy in shorts and a Def Leppard t-shirt walked up behind me and asked if I was Karl ....... and I said yeah. He lifted the bottom of his t-shirt and displayed a Reno PD badge and yes a weapon. He explained his duties and asked for ID and purpose of the trip. Happily showed him and told him being an Amtrak supporter it was just for the ride. He wanted to know if I was meeting anyone in SAC I sad no just an overnight at the Vagabond Inn then back to DEN in the morning.

He asked if I would mind if he could check my roomette. I said none whatsoever. He signaled another guy in the lounge to follow. Since I was booked in the front revenue room of the Dorm/Transition I said follow me. We hoofed forward and I said have at it. They asked if any problem checking my bags (overnight bag and camera) again said none whatsoever. Needless to say found nada! Anyway, they apologized for the inconvenience. I told them absolutely not a problem. And that I appreciated it very much. Thanked them for their service and they headed back.

I had no problem at all with it all. I didn't feel violated or that my rights were infringed or any of the other common cries are these days. And the idea of armed law enforcement on-board is very reassuring!

 

niemi24s

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I had no problem at all with it all. I didn't feel violated or that my rights were infringed or any of the other common cries are these days. And the idea of armed law enforcement on-board is very reassuring!
I applaud your attitude! As a law-abiding citizen licensed by my State to carry a concealed weapon - but prohibited from doing so for many reasons while traveling - the possible presence of armed LE personnel aboard my train gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Yes they will at least the Reno Police Department Drug Interdiction Unit will! I was "profiled" by NCIC, RPD and Amtrak's computer systems as a potential "drug mule". I booked last minute overnight trip (just for the heck of it) from DEN to SAC and return the next day in a roomette. Well all the triggers of someone in illegal drug running or drug money laundering were tripped and my itinerary was flagged. Reno's Drug Interdiction plain clothes (t-shirts, shorts, jeans) officers ride Amtrak between Reno and Truckee then return the same day. There were 4 on this day.

Well after departing RNO I was in the lounge taken pictures when a guy in shorts and a Def Leppard t-shirt walked up behind me and asked if I was Karl ....... and I said yeah. He lifted the bottom of his t-shirt and displayed a Reno PD badge and yes a weapon. He explained his duties and asked for ID and purpose of the trip. Happily showed him and told him being an Amtrak supporter it was just for the ride. He wanted to know if I was meeting anyone in SAC I sad no just an overnight at the Vagabond Inn then back to DEN in the morning.

He asked if I would mind if he could check my roomette. I said none whatsoever. He signaled another guy in the lounge to follow. Since I was booked in the front revenue room of the Dorm/Transition I said follow me. We hoofed forward and I said have at it. They asked if any problem checking my bags (overnight bag and camera) again said none whatsoever. Needless to say found nada! Anyway, they apologized for the inconvenience. I told them absolutely not a problem. And that I appreciated it very much. Thanked them for their service and they headed back.

I had no problem at all with it all. I didn't feel violated or that my rights were infringed or any of the other common cries are these days. And the idea of armed law enforcement on-board is very reassuring!
I agree that being cooperative and thanking them for service, etc. Is a VERY good idea in these situations. My encounters with the Amtrak Police Department have gone well because I have remained friendly.

But if you think your rights are not violated by being questioned and all your luggage searched because you are traveling on public transportation within your own country.... well we just don’t see eye to eye that’s for sure.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The idea of armed law enforcement on-board is very reassuring!
The possible presence of armed LE personnel aboard my train gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.
Can you give us an example of a trip on Amtrak where the lack of armed security created a serious problem for you? I've been riding Amtrak for decades and on the rare occasion that someone was beyond staff control they were removed at a grade crossing and the train continued on without further issue. The problems I've had with other passengers never came close to the point of needing to maim or kill anyone.
 
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