Charges: 79-year-old beaten while buying ticket on light rail platform

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A 79-year-old man was beaten after setting down his groceries to buy a ticket at a St. Paul light rail stop, according to authorities.

The Pioneer Press reports the man was buying a train ticket at the 10th Street Green Line platform Monday evening, when he was approached, the charges say, by Eric Larson.

Larson took the man's groceries, according to the complaint, and when he asked for them back Larson shoved the victim into a glass barricade and punched him, the paper reports.

Larson was seen by police walking down the platform and cursing, KSTP reports; when told he was under arrest, Larson became resistant and had to be taken to the ground, according to the criminal complaint.

Larson was charged Wednesday with first-degree aggravated robbery, the station says; the victim suffered bruising and pain, according to the charges.

More than 6.5 million people rode the Green Line in 2014, according to Metro Transit, while nearly another 9.5 million took trips on the Blue Line.

Crime at light rail stations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlqlymPfJkQ

Just last week, WCCO ran a story about crime at light rail platforms, finding police responded to hundreds of calls at numerous stops during a six-month period.

On the Green Line, the Central Avenue station had 481 calls, while Snelling had 478, WCCO reports. For the Blue Line, the Lake Street/Midtown platform was the subject of 858 incidents (though the station notes about half were unpaid fares).

So here's a question: Is there a link between public transit and crime?

That's hard to say, according to CityLab. Recent studies of transit systems in Vancouver and Charlotte found that introducing new travel options actually reduced crime. But the story admits social science "rarely works so cleanly," with some studies ending without being able to make a determination, and at least one (which looked at Chicago's system) found "cautious" support for a link.

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