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RTD upgrading cameras in lots as commuter frustrations over break-ins grow

RTD upgrading cameras in lots as commuter frustrations over break-ins grow
Posted at 7:51 PM, Apr 14, 2023

DENVER — It’s quickly becoming the worst part about work-related travel for Steve Conney.

“Returning to my car, hoping that my windows aren’t smashed out,” he said.

Thieves smashed out the passenger-side window of Conney’s Chevy SUV a few weeks ago at the Regional Transportation District (RTD) lot at 40th and Peña Boulevard.

“I never had a problem in the older days,” said Conney, who has been parking in RTD lots for more than 25 years. “Well, since the A Line first started (in 2016), I’ve been using Central Park Station to get to the airport. And prior to that — I’d say it’s been 25 years — it used to be a bus and they used to call that the old Stapleton Park and Ride.”

Conney says theft and crime was not a problem until recently.

“You know, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve noticed glass in the parking lots. And I personally got broken into about a month ago. And then, just a few days ago, I was with a colleague getting off the train and her car was broken into, which was right beside mine.”

Break-ins and thefts at RTD lots are now seemingly as frequent as the train stops themselves.

“It definitely frustrates me because my car was behind a camera right over there,” said Gauge Authier, whose car was broken into earlier this year in the same lot at 40th and Peña.

“My car was there for a week, so I have no idea when my car was broken into,” Conney said. “When I talked to the RTD police, they mentioned there were seven cars broken into in the same row.”

Conney is just the latest in a string of victims Denver7 has featured about car thefts and break-ins in RTD lots.

“I rely on mass transit to get to the airport,” Conney said. “I think it’s the safest, most efficient way to get to the airport. But it just feels unsafe now.”

The Denver Police Department told Denver7 on Friday it partners with RTD to provide extra patrols when possible.

RTD told Denver7 on Friday it has camera coverage throughout the district and is the process of upgrading low resolution cameras to high resolution.

“Our new cameras are HDTV high-definition video (1080p resolution), one level below 4K,” said Marta Sipeki, senior manager of public relations and engagement in the communications department at RTD. “About 50% of our cameras are now high resolution. The cameras at Central Park Station are high resolution.”

RTD also said transit police coordinate and share information with Denver and Aurora police regularly when investigating crimes.

“They obviously know that this has been an issue,” Conney said.

For now, Conney says he’ll continue to ride the train.

“But it’s getting harder,” he said. “It’s a real asset that our city has. It’s just unfortunate that a lot of these car break-ins have come into play."

RTD says transit police conduct vehicle checks at Park-n-Rides to see if packages or valuable items are visible, if windows are open or cracked, and if keys are left in vehicles.

“I used to be in law enforcement and I’m cognizant of not leaving anything in my car,” Conney said. “I leave my glove box open, which is actually a pretty good idea in letting people know there’s nothing to steal.”

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