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Posted at 4:20 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Have you been a crime victim on Metro?

By Robert Thomson

When I talk to travelers about security on Metro, it isn't a terrorist attack that comes first to their minds, horrible as that would be. No, they're more likely to talk about how they feel when walking from a rail station to a big parking lot at night, or riding a train in the afternoon when the kids get out of school.

At 9 a.m. Thursday, the Metro Board's safety and security committee is scheduled to hear a report about riders' safety concerns, at least in their statistical form. The report compiles statistics from 2010 and finds that some important categories of crimes went up while others declined or remained stable.

Reported rapes and other sexual offenses rose from one in 2009 to seven in 2010. Reported robberies totaled 1,007 in 2010, up from 894 in 2009.

In 2010, the report says, there were 136 aggravated assaults in the Metro system. That compares with 94 in 2009. Metro says 32 percent in 2010 involved assaults on bus drivers. In 2010, 930 larcenies were reported, compared with 811 in 2009. Metro says 55 percent of the 2010 larcenies involved theft of property from cars. An additional 30 percent involved thefts of bicycles.

Reported motor vehicle thefts were down: From 152 in 2009 to 129 in 2010.

The report also lists the stations experiencing the most reported crimes. Five are in Prince George's County: New Carrollton, Branch Avenue, Greenbelt, Prince George's Plaza and Largo Town Center. Five are in the District: Gallery Place, Metro Center, L'Enfant Plaza, Southern Avenue and Minnesota Avenue.

See the security report here, in pdf form.

By Robert Thomson  | February 24, 2011; 4:20 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Transit  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock  
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Look at where these stations are on a map. This report is clearly racist.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Doc Gridlock, why don't you also focus on assaults/thefts occurring on or near local buses and bus stops / depots?

Metrobus (incl. MetroAccess), RideOn (MoCo), TheBus (PGCo), DASH (Alex.), Fairfax Connector, ART (Arl.), etc.?

C'mon, WaPo. Are we lowly bus patrons not worthy of your commuter crime coverage?

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 23, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Have I been a crime victim on Metro? Yeah, I get robbed every time I swipe my SmartTrip card at the faregates and wait 10 minutes for a train during "peak fare" periods.

Posted by: Jack45 | February 23, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: FedUpInMoCo, the Metro stats in this report are for the entire Metro system, including buses and MetroAccess. The report notes, for example, that 90 of the assaults in 2010 were against Metrobus operators. (There were 71 in 2009.)

The Metro report doesn't have information about the suburban bus systems.

Posted by: rtthomson1 | February 23, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Dont forget the CONVICTED CHILD MOLESTER thats working for a suburban Transit System, that works closely with WMATA.

Would you Ride-On (Hint Hint) a bus thats operated by a CONVICTED CHILD MOLESTER?

MCGEO & the Safety-Training division thinks its ok, but I wouldn't feel safe.

Posted by: Robbnitafl | February 23, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Thx for the clarification, Doc Gridlock / rtthomson1.

I should've RTFL (read the flippin' link).

(Not to be confused with ROTFL, natch.)

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 23, 2011 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Thx for the clarification, Doc Gridlock / rtthomson1.

I should've RTFL (read the flippin' link).

(Not to be confused with ROTFL, natch.)

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 23, 2011 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I've been a victim having had my bike stolen from a bike rack during the workday at the hight of tourist season. Upon my return to the station I found my broken lock, along with three other broken locks. After reporting the theft, waiting over an hour for metro police to show up I was berated for leaving my bike unattended and not knowing its serial number.

I tried to follow up by calling to add the serial number to the report and was treated rudely with each contact and transferred back and forth between the same employees.

It seems the cutting/breaking of at least four locks and the removal of a equal number of bikes should but observed by an agency which spends so much money on preventing terrorism ought to notice such and incident.

I vote "no confidence" for all aspects of the metro system.

Posted by: LMarie1 | February 23, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

What's even more disturbing is that the crime rate is probably even higher because of those that are not reported, especially by metro employees. Just last night I had an uncomfortable encounter with a creep, and when I went to a metro employee about it they blew me off, blamed me for not doing more at the time, and lectured me about minors and safety (I may look young, but I'm not a minor).

I did file a complaint with metro through their website about the perv and about how the metro employee handled it. However, I doubt it will do much good. 5 years riding metro and this is the first time I've had an issue with another rider or been a victim of a crime and I'm not impressed with how they handle it.

Posted by: AD86 | February 24, 2011 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock,
Thank you for posting the link to the original report.

A few questions:

-Are these crimes reported on the Metro surveys, or are they crimes reported to Metro personnel(i.e., Metro Transit Police, stations managers, etc.)?

-Are these crimes ONLY the ones reported to Metro Personnel, or does it include crimes reported to DC, VA, and MD police?

I would think that if someone was robbed (especially on a bus), their first inclination would be to call the local police department, and not the Metro Transit Police.

If calls to the local police departments were not counted, then this report is not a very accuarate representation of Metro crime (which includes crimes that are only reported to local DC, VA, and MD police)- but instead only references crimes reported to Metro personnell.

--When comparing reported crime for different years, it does not look like they took into consideration increases or decreases in ridership. For example, reported "bus operator assaults" increased from 71 in 2009 to 90 in 2010. However, if for some reason, bus riders increased from 2009 to 2010 (this could have happened due to fare increases on the subways), then there would be a higher NUMBER of people assaulting bus drivers, but it may not be a higher PERCENTAGE. It is really the PERCENTAGE that should be of interest. It could be that PERCENTAGE of riders assaulting bus drivers has not changed, or has even gone down. We simply don't know and can't assess that without knowing the PERCENT of riders.

Along similar lines, the increased ridership on Metro for the innauguration and for the Rally to Restore Sanity would increase ridership, and presumably some crimes.

Also, flucuations in the cost of parking at Metro parking facilities could affect crime rates there. If people are not parking there, then there are less potential victims for crime...and the reverse is true.

At least we know that Metro is not spending that much money on marketing. Otherwise, they probably would not have labeled a category "bus operator assaults".

Posted by: informedtraveller | February 24, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

CORRECTION: In my paragraph that begins "When comparing reported crime...", the last sentence should read

"We simply don't know and can't assess that without knowing how what the ridership was for each year being compared. "

Posted by: informedtraveller | February 24, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

When these thugs are caught , implant a chip in their head that denies access to METRO , Forever. Then the monkeys can ride in a clown car.

Posted by: JadedCynic | February 24, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Yup! Witnessed the bus driver of the 96 jump the curb this past saturday and made a few close calls earlier on the route. Reckless driving! Don't worry, she'll just have to be re-trained as to standard metro operating procedures. Ie - keep bus in the road.

Posted by: NCL22 | February 24, 2011 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Not a crime victim (thankfully). But a crime target, yes, like many.

1994 or 1995: Terrifying troll man (Hispanic, teens, <5') stalks me at Rockville Metro Station after school. After watching me intently and not-so-covertly from a 10-15' distance, rushes at me near the base of the escalator, asking bizarre questions in a thick accent. He is obviously interested in a crude sexual liaison. (For the first time in my young life, I feel really scared about a stranger and not a corporal-punishment-threatening parent.) I hasten to a southbound train; lucky for me, troll dude does not pursue. I vehemently maintain that I was *not* dressed suggestively in any way.

late 1990s [specific year unknown]: Man in construction gear (white, middle-aged, ~5.5'-6') approaches me at Bethesda Metro Station near bus depot area, asking me to make lewd poses. I am a bit freaked out about this and want to leave the station but I have nowhere to go because I have to catch the eastbound J2 soon thereafter. While seated near the upper-level water feature a few moments after his furtive and cryptic solicitation, I notice this creep getting aroused very nearby. He then slips away (probably going to one of the ubiquitous construction zones in the vicinity.) Picturing a sick pedo experimenting with what he can get away with, I try to report this bizarre incident to the police. Also note that I was not dressed suggestively by any stretch of the imagination. In retrospect, I did appear young/vulnerable for my age, though.

[other lesser events happened in this intervening interval]

2010: Disoriented, delusional woman (black, ~35-45, ~5.5') having a rage/panic attack screams at driver and passengers on an upcounty (Germantown terminus) RideOn, pounding up and down the aisle making semi-coherent threats. She was making everybody so jittery that the driver pulled over and waited to see if she would cool down. She finally got frustrated and stomped off the bus, much to everyone's relief.

(I've heard similar unsettling stories from other public transit patrons. Please don't bias coverage toward property crimes; harassment/threats against riders (and staff) can be a real issue as well.)

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 25, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

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