New RTA stops near mall haven’t resulted in more crime

Feds had threatened Beavercreek with loss of millions over controversial bus stops.

Crime hasn’t increased at the Mall at Fairfield Commons after three controversial new bus stops opened, one concern that some opponents of the stops had.

“It’s really too early to draw any conclusions, but from what we’re seeing there isn’t any noticeable concern with regards to the bus stop,” said Beavercreek Police Chief Dennis Evers.

From January to March of this year, Beavercreek Police investigated 74 criminal cases at the Mall at Fairfield Commons, 2727 Fairfield Commons, according to records obtained by the Dayton Daily News. In 2013 officers investigated six percent more cases, handling 79 criminal cases at the mall in the same period.

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority began operation along Pentagon Boulevard on Jan. 12 with stops near Central State’s Beavercreek campus, the Wal-Mart and the mall, according to RTA.

“We’re just elated to be able to provide access to jobs, education and medical services,” said Frank Ecklar, director of planning and marketing for RTA. “So far operations have been great. Our ridership is doing quite well.”

Ecklar said RTA averages around 80 passengers each day along the three-stop route.

The City Council approved the RTA stops by a 5-2 vote in October after the federal government found Beavercreek’s rejection of the stops two years ago violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Beavercreek Vice Mayor Debborah Wallace was among the two council members who voted against the new stops.

Wallace told the Dayton Daily News on Wednesday, “We accepted the loss and gracefully have moved on.”

“I hope the public is happy with the new bus stops,” Wallace said.

The Dayton Daily News visited the mall and talked to visitors about their experiences at the retail facility since RTA began operation there.

“The diversity has changed a lot to be honest with you,” said Charles Turner of Springfield, who said he visits the mall on a weekly basis. “A lot of different people are here in the mall now than before. Other than that, I haven’t seen too many changes.”

According to Evers, Beavercreek officers changed to 12-hour shifts last year and were able to reallocate resources to patrol Beavercreek’s retail areas more frequently.

Beavercreek was at risk of losing more than $10 million in federal highway funding if it did not revisit a March 2011 decision rejecting the RTA’s request for three bus stops along Pentagon Boulevard. Council previously had added several criteria citing a need to ensure public safety and to prevent the city from incurring additional costs.

Municipalities that run programs and activities funded with federal dollars are banned from excluding or discriminating against a person based on race, color or national origin.

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