Concerns about crime along the Blue Line extension

Starting Friday, the Blue Line extension begins service from uptown to the University area. However, NBC Charlotte is finding many crimes along the new route, ranging from thefts and vandalism to assaults, all since the beginning of the year.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A groundbreaking way of travel for UNC Charlotte students is raising questions about crime.

Starting Friday, the Blue Line extension begins service from uptown to the University area. However, NBC Charlotte is finding many crimes along the new route, ranging from thefts and vandalism to assaults, all since the beginning of the year.

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Crime mapping showed dozens of crimes near the Sugar Creek Road stop. Even closer to UNC Charlotte, there are more than 30 cases around the University City Boulevard stop. Many of them are theft but also violent crimes like armed robbery and multiple assaults.

“That’s just kind of reality, any big city is going to have crime along their transportation system,” said one UNC Charlotte student.

Unfortunately, students are all too familiar with violent crimes near campus, too. David Kenney was recently charged with rape and a series of sex crimes near UNC Charlotte. Before that, several other suspects were arrested for a robbery near the student union.

“It’s definitely something that’s scary and not something you want to have to be involved in in your community,” a student told NBC Charlotte.

“I would definitely be with friends, and not be traveling alone in the dark on the light rail,” said another student.

However, despite the crime concerns, students told NBC Charlotte they’re planning to ride the new light rail.

“I don’t think that’s anything to be fearful of, to not use it or to steer clear of it, but just to pay attention and be cautious,” said a student.

“I think it comes with more benefits than costs and I’m probably going to ride it this weekend, I’m super excited,” another student said.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department tells NBC Charlotte they’ve been working with CATS on security leading up to the new service.