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Posted at 5:54 AM ET, 02/23/2011

Crime climbs on Metro

By Washington Post Editors

Video link for mobile devices

Metro security report (PDF)

[This post will be updated]

Riders on Metro might want to hold on tight to their iPhones, Blackberries and music players.

Thefts of electronic devices accounted for 76 percent of Metro-related robberies in 2010, according to recent information from the transit agency. Metro said thefts of the devices are climbing, and 60 percent of the devices that were stolen were snatched from customers. Thieves typically target a rider near the doors who has a device in his hand, grabs the device and runs out the door, Metro said.

"These types of crimes are crimes of opportunity," said Metro Transit Police Deputy Chief Ronald Pavlik. "We encourage our riders to take easy, common-sense steps to reduce their chances of becoming a target for thieves. Pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your phones, iPads and music players concealed."

However, a security report prepared for delivery to a Metro board of directors committee on
Thursday, paints a broad picture of crimes that occur throughout the transit network of bus and rail.

There were more incidents of aggravated assault; larceny; rape and sexual offenses; and robbery overall. There were seven sex crimes reported in 2010, more than the five in the previous four years combined. Aggravated assaults, which had been dropping since 2006, reached a five-year high of 136. Robberies have more than doubled since 2006, growing from 398 to 1,007 in 2010.

Some forms of crimes against property were also up. Bicycle thefts rose 35 percent in 2010, from 207 to 280. Vehicle thefts, however, decreased, falling 19 percent to 194 in 2010, from 238 in 2009.

NBC 4 reported Wednesday morning that crime on Metro is at a five -year high. According to the report, the rail stations with the highest crime rates are: New Carrollton; Branch Avenue; Greenbelt; Prince George's Plaza; and Gallery Place. The Washington Examiner also examined the statistics in a report for today's editions.

Transit police offered the following tips for riders using electronic devices:
-- Be alert of your surroundings and the people around you.
-- Carry electronic devices in a place where they are not easily seen or easy to reach.
-- Keep the volume low enough that that you can hear what's going on around you.
-- Avoid sitting or standing near doors of rail cars or buses.
-- Report problems to a Metro employee or call Metro Transit Police at 202-962-2121.

Have you been the victim of a theft on Metro? Share your experience with us or tips for other riders in the comments below.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 23, 2011; 5:54 AM ET
Categories:  Metro, MetroAccess, Metrobus  
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Comments

Maybe it is time to redirect the efforts of metro police from violating citizens' Fourth Amendment rights to actually protecting them from thieves and thugs.

Posted by: LMarie1 | February 23, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Here's my suggestion, carry a gun and shoot the scum in the back as they flee from the car. Problem solved.

Posted by: dem4life1 | February 23, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I thought the lush DC welfare program included free ipods and iphones for the mother and her 9-10 children.

Posted by: bluebellknoll | February 23, 2011 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Funny that New Carrollton is considered one of the top stations...funny because I ride it every day and I see a metro police officer maybe once every 2 weeks. Our metro police department needs to take a more hands on role in making things better. Less police presence=less chance of consequence =more chance of crime. Very very simple equation.

Posted by: jonathanmahoney77 | February 23, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Only 60% are stolen from customers? That seems really low. Are 40% really stolen from Metro employees and cops?

Posted by: amy130 | February 23, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

What a vicious and violent culture.

Posted by: jab00 | February 23, 2011 9:49 AM | Report abuse

New Carrollton; Branch Avenue; Greenbelt; Prince George's Plaza; and Gallery Place
---------------------------
I believe that 4 out of the 5 stops are on the Green Line. *I'mjustsaying*

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | February 23, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Keep them in your purse, briefcase,etc. until you get home. Almost all of you are old enough to remember when you had to get home, or to work, before getting a message. As far as the thieves go, take them out back and...


Posted by: jckdoors | February 23, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse


Moral of the story:

1, Don't take the green line

2. Don't take the red line past Metro Center.

3. Stay off PG County Blue and Orange lines

Posted by: kenk33 | February 23, 2011 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Welfare and lazy Black female baby makeing machines in DC who produce scum-filthy-crime prone-snot incessed black males are to blame and I hope they stop.
Or maybe come to my karate class at Bladensburg Rec Ctr in PG County and I will mug you crooks like I do any child or parent who questions me.
Last week I kicked a parent and his kid out of my class called him a punk, and I make my cash here cause the admin is lame like Metro admin.
I dare Rushern Baker, County Executress or Ronnie Gathers, Parks Directress to stop me or I will expose how the farceness prevails here and you idiot parents go along just becasue I can no longer stand in class for more than 13 minutes while teaching BS,uh Karate.

Posted by: DrCliffThoma
______________________________

Quite the hateful reply.

I am going to interpret that as a sign of frustration...one that you don't really have to deal with.

But Metro riders like myself that understand what I'm up against just keep my DroidX and myTouch 4G phones hidden out of site and bust out the toys when I get home.

Simple. Sometimes crimes are brought about from people just not taking precaution.

no need to call people out about it...because some criminals in this world are not Black.

Posted by: cbmuzik | February 23, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

In the 10 years that I've lived here, I very rarely see any police officers on the Metro system. Whereas when I lived in NYC, that was a regular occurrence. I've seen more thuggish behavior from certain females on the green line as opposed to their male counterparts.

Posted by: dottie20 | February 23, 2011 10:48 AM | Report abuse

In the 10 years that I've lived here, I very rarely see any police officers on the Metro system. Whereas when I lived in NYC, that was a regular occurrence. I've seen more thuggish behavior from certain females on the green line as opposed to their male counterparts.

Posted by: dottie20 | February 23, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

If Metro doesn't have enough police, maybe they should consider providing free passage for the Guardian Angels to patrol the system more often than they currently do. I think it's a win-win for all. The Angels already work well with MPD, but are limited inside the Metro system because they must pay their own way to ride the buses and trains.

Posted by: mitch661 | February 23, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"the rail stations with the highest crime rates are" all in the area where tourists were called racist for being told to avoid, plus one transfer station.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Hardly a surprise to see Gallery Place on the list, given its location directly beneath the Verizon Center and the consequent crowding that occurs there. The more jammed in the people are, the easier it is for a pickpocket to operate.


Regarding this statement:

no need to call people out about it...because some criminals in this world are not Black.

Posted by: cbmuzik | February 23, 2011 10:43 AM

What is "Black"? Did you perhaps mean "black"? The word is not a proper noun.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 23, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Instead of being racist, how about not being scared to look people in the face? How about not showing off that $300 piece of equipment to hundreds of people? How about holding your bag closed and close to your body? How about watching the actions of others around you instead of playing games on your $300 toy?

Some tips for you: if a person is moving around the car/platform, looking down instead of ahead, or glancing from side to side, be aware that the person is probably scoping for easy pickings. DUH.

Posted by: jennthehen | February 23, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Does it surprise anyone that the crimes are in PG County.

Posted by: mjmcconchie1 | February 23, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I will usually clutch my wallet or hide my Iphone whenever a young black person walks by me on the metro or walking the streets in D.C. I used to think I was just stereo-typing, however, reading these articles have made me more fearful. I really try to not stereo-type, however, how can you not when you read articles like these?

Posted by: tmi1 | February 23, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

jennthehen,
Or how about these worthless pieces of feces stealing other people's belongings simply stop doing it?
Its a free country...people should be able to use their electronic devices without fear of them being stolen.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | February 23, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

People get their iPods and Blackberries stolen because they always have them on display, really to show off to the rest of the world that they have these electronic gadgets. Pretty foolish, then they complain when the gadgets are snatched right out of their hands by thugs.

I have a 32G iPod Touch, My first "act" to protect it while I'm in public was to change the headphones from the easily recognized classic Apple white to Sony black. When I get on the train, I set the music to continuous play then my iPod goes deep into my jacket pocket and stays hidden there until I get off the train. There's no need for me to take it out until then because Metro world doesn't need to know I have such a gadget. I can control it with the button on the cord of my headphones or with my voice. I had better hold on to it. It was a birthday gift from my brother. :-)

Posted by: sjcsando | February 23, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Metro,

Have a visible presence of police on the trains at the station.. I ride from New Carollton to Farragut West every day and I rarely see ONE metro cop.. I however haven't witnessed any crime, but mostly witness bad behavior... I see a GANG of metro cops when they are playing war games every once in awhile... we should have cops walking the trains all the time... visibility is a deterrence..


and yes if i want to check email or surf the internet on my iphone or any other device, i will... and if some a$$hat decides to touch it... I will take the law into my own hands... im not letting these punks infringe on me.

Posted by: joebananas1 | February 23, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

New Carrollton is Orange line, not Green. I agree with earlier posters - I ride the New Carrollton line every day and have for 15 years. I rarely see police presence anywhere.

Race is not the issue but youthful "teenage" most definitly is.

Do not bother to contact Metro Transit Police. You often get no answer and almost always no response from them. One must ask, "Do they even exist?"

Posted by: OldTimeRider | February 23, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

New Carrollton is Orange line, not Green. I agree with earlier posters - I ride the New Carrollton line every day and have for 15 years. I rarely see police presence anywhere.

Race is not the issue but youthful "teenage" most definitely is.

Do not bother to contact Metro Transit Police. You often get no answer and almost always no response from them. One must ask, "Do they even exist?"

Posted by: OldTimeRider | February 23, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Orange line is lilly-white

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

First off: DrCliffThomas is an ignorant, racist and your comment wasn't even on point. Just remember that people won't know how stupid you are until you open your mouth!
Secondly: It's not a color issue, it's a respect issue and these young thugs have no respect for anyone today so they do stupid sh*t like steal and kill. These kids curse and act a fool on metro because no one says anything and until ANY OF YOU open your mouth to say something to these punks, stop acting like internet gangstas and save the sh*t talking for who deserves it. In the meantime, be vigilant, be aware of your surroundings and be prepared to stomp the snot out of the next kid who tries to disrespect you by stealing from you. Whether they are black, white or anything else!

Posted by: dcdivacb | February 23, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how stupid some comments are.

Posted by: rlj1 | February 23, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

To everyone offended by the idea that they should have to protect their personal property in public:

Yes, it's a free country. You can leave your front door wide open all night if you like the breeze and you can wear your monthly income in a cash suit and take a stroll down the street if you want to.

The point is that there are some common sense actions that people can and should do to prevent being taken advantage of by the dishonest people present in any society. Not flapping your iPhone around near the exit of a Metro car is one of those things. Do with that info what you will.

Posted by: softrefrain | February 23, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Once it became clear that youths could rumble, harass and attack without intervention, an escalation of criminal activity was sure to follow. Metro's foot shuffling, mealy-mouthed nonresponse of "we don't see anything we can do about isolated incidents of unruly youths" invited serious crime into the system. Metro has perhaps reached the tipping point where it becomes known as an expensive, unreliable, crime-ridden, shoddy rail system. Perhaps Metro is okay with a reputation for being dangerous and unreliable. But public funds are drying up and this may be Metro's last best chance to bring its security and operations up to acceptable standards. Do the people at Metro care? I get the feeling that from the very top down to the rank and file no one at Metro cares as long as their paycheck clears.

Posted by: cassandra9 | February 23, 2011 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I have a MP3 player that costs around $50. When I ride the subway I keep it hidden in a pocket that makes it almost impossible for someone to snatch it.

I see a lot of people, young and old, that have their iPhones, Blackberries, and iPods in their hands just waiting for some theif to snatch it and run. C'mon people lets use some common sense. If you are standing by a door you are inviting someone to snatch it.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | February 23, 2011 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Yup, saw someone get mugged on the Red Line during rush hour a few months ago. Perps got on at Ft Totten, punched him in the face and took his electronics getting off at Silver Spring.

I saw the thugs get on, and kept an eye on them. Body language indicated they were clearly on the hunt. But most people have their noses buried in the paper or their email, and don't see the danger around them.

Posted by: pmendez | February 23, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"Here's my suggestion, carry a gun and shoot the scum in the back as they flee from the car. Problem solved."
Posted by: dem4life1

^ ^ ^

This NRA citizen-warrior "problem-solving" tip has been brought to you by one "dem4life1"? Sheesh, the Democratic Party sure has changed since I was a card-carrying "member."

Here's MY suggestion, carry a cheap paperback and then proceed to read it cover to cover instead of flashing your iExcessory or CrackBerry or not-so-concealed-carry firearm around the car for all the "scum" to see. Problem solved.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 23, 2011 5:55 PM | Report abuse

sometimes I pretend to not pay attention when I see suspicious people lurking, just hoping they'll try to jack my iphone.

one of these days, I will be thanking my hours at the gym when I am pounding some little a'holes face in for being such a drain on society.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | February 23, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Statehood: NEVER! After Nov 2012 when the Republicans take control of Congress, maybe the failure of DC homerule can be addressed.

The city burns and Vince Grey does a hand dance. FAIL

Posted by: wagtdn | February 23, 2011 6:37 PM | Report abuse

With the lack of security and the rise of hoodlums, I think Metro is moving closer to a Bernie Goetz incident.

Posted by: ProfessorPeabody | February 23, 2011 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Get Metro cops out of their cars and on trains and in stations.

There are 420 Metro cops. There are 86 stations. You could easily post one cop at every station during the hours the system is open. That leaves plenty to drive around and (in theory) police the buses.

Posted by: gbooksdc | February 23, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Obviously a bunch of pasty-faced, briefcase totting cubical rats disguised as commuters ripping of the electronic bling of hard working ghetto residents catching a few zzzzs.

Posted by: slim21 | February 23, 2011 9:15 PM | Report abuse

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