Commuters relieved as RIPTA, Providence increase Kennedy Plaza security
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — In conjunction with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority, the city of Providence is equipping Kennedy Plaza with increased patrol officers to safeguard the major junction.
RIPTA is reallocating $100,000 from private security to continued patrols in the city’s center. Mayor Brett Smiley began increasing officers’ patrols when he took office in January.
“What you’ll see is an officer walking the beat at prime times,” he said. “So, that is afternoons and mornings when most transit riders are coming to and from. People downtown actually can see we’ve had the mounted command and officers on horseback.”
Smiley noted city organizations continue to work with drug abusers and homeless outside of city hall.
Commuters, however, remain on high alert after violence in the past.
“If I am here waiting for a bus, I just look around and keep an eye on people making sure there is no drama and no trouble,” said one commuter. “I try not to come out here at night. That’s where the danger is what I know of or what I heard.”
Another commuter Thursday added, “There is way too many drugs involved and a lot of people homeless. It makes it unsafe for other people who want to get to work and want to get back and forth.”
Smiley told ABC 6 that an increased police presence could safeguard Kennedy Plaza and downtown Providence.
He finished, “Kennedy Plaza is this transfer point for so many Rhode Islanders. All of our kids take RIPTA to get to school. Employees are coming to work in the financial district… so having that space feel safe is important to me.”