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The increase of gun violence has people questioning whether public transportation is safe. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images.
The increase of gun violence has people questioning whether public transportation is safe. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

SEPTA riders question whether or not it's safe to ride public transit, amid afternoon City Hall shooting

Philly residents are wondering whether or not public transportation is safe anymore.

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Philly residents walked the crowded streets of 15th and Market, heading to appointments, work, or going for a quick shopping trip on a mid-July day. Out of nowhere, a hail of bullets sprung out inside of SEPTA’s eastbound platform of the Market-Frankford line.

A 19-year-old man was shot three times surrounded by ongoing individuals after an argument between two other men.

This incident occurred on Thursday, right in front of City Hall, leaving residents and passengers concerned about whether or not SEPTA should require more police officers and security guards on their platforms.

State Representative Amen Brown spoke to NBC10, and discussed the importance of adding more transit officers throughout the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines.

“They are armed with walkie talkies, that's not what we need right now,” Brown said to NBC10.

Brown insists that officers should carry more than just a walkie talkie, instead they should be armed.

“If I was one of those folks and I saw an armed officer on the train, I would think twice even about getting into an altercation,” he stated.

Last month, SEPTA hired around 80 additional security officers to protect riders who have to travel overnight. These are not police officers, rather, they are security guards to guide riders and ensure their safety.

In response to the shooting in Center City, Brown also stated in a press release that he would like to see other options inside of SEPTA’s subways and trains, including specialized anti-crime units.

“All SEPTA buses should be equipped with silent panic buttons where bus operators can alert police to their location via GPS in real time,” Brown said.  

There have been an ongoing rise in violent attacks inside of SEPTA transportation services in recent months, one attack was on a young woman who was sexually assaulted in late April.

“Some people have no choice but to ride on SEPTA,” Brown said. “People are scared to ride; there needs to be police protection offered for riders and SEPTA employees. The conditions on the train are horrible, from trash to drug paraphernalia and consumption, to incredibly violent and senseless attacks. Public transportation is needed in large cities, and it’s beyond time to make it safe to ride again.”

SEPTA spent around $6.6 million to add more security to its platforms; however, the violence doesn't seem to be ending.

The city alone has witnessed 292 homicides in the city, of them, 266 victims were killed by shootings. There have also been 1,028 nonfatal shootings in Philadelphia.

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