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Posted at 12:56 PM ET, 03/ 1/2011

Guardian Angels to increase Metro patrols

By Washington Post Editors

[This post has been updated: 4:05 p.m.]

The D.C. chapter of the Guardian Angels plans to patrol Metro's trains and buses with more frequency following reports of teen fights and attacks on some portions of the transit network.

The group announced in January that it would increase patrols, which have been taking place since this summer. The latest decision follows reports of an attack at Suitland Station on the Green Line on Friday. The news of the fight was publicized this morning on

The NBC report said 41-year-old Robert Joy was waiting for his niece at Suitland Station when he saw a group of youths beating another. Joy said he was attacked by the group when he tried to call 911. The report said Joy's two front teeth were knocked out and he required stitches for facial injuries.

John Ayala, East Coast director of the Guardian Angels, said in a statement that both uniformed and nonuniformed members will be on Metro's trains and buses. Ayala said the members would intervene if they see an attack -- and detain people for the police.

"The attacks are out of control," he said.  "It's time for the community to do their part to make the Metro safe for everyone."

According to an e-mail from Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein, people believed to be minors were involved in a verbal dispute with a minor at Suitland that escalated into a physical confrontation. An adult attempted to call 911 and was assaulted by the suspects, she said. A minor was treated at the scene and the adult was transported to the hospital, she said.

Farbstein said police received calls from multiple bystanders and Metro employees, and are pursuing leads.

"We regularly remind our customers that if they see something to say something," Farbstein wrote. "At the same time, we never want our customers to put themselves in harm's way. Here is an instance where a customer saw something and was attempting to do the right thing by reporting it, and unfortunately he became a victim."

Ayala said patrols have regularly noticed groups of 20 to 40 "rowdy and disorderly" teens traveling in the Metro system. The presence of the Angels is intended to be both deter bad behavior and to encourage positive actions, he said. The group wants to recruit young people 15 and older to assist their efforts -- and earn community service hours, he added.

"They're exhibiting a lot of energy, and a lot of that energy has been going toward negative stuff," he said, "but we know for a fact that there are a lot of positive young people out there."

The Guardian Angels have been mostly patrolling on Saturday nights between 8 and 11 p.m. on the Green and Yellow lines, Ayala said, but that will now expand to twice during the week from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 to 11:30 p.m. The efforts will focus on buses and certain rail lines: the Orange Line from L'Enfant Plaza to New Carrollton; the Blue Line from L'Enfant to Stadium-Armory; the Green Line from Fort Totten to Congress Heights; and the Yellow Line from Fort Totten to L'Enfant Plaza.

Ayala said the Guardian Angels typically deploy three to four people on a single bus and six to eight on a train (one person per rail car).

The Guardian Angels have been detailing some patrol activities on their Web site.

A recent report from Metro said that serious crime has hit a five-year high on the sprawling transit network, with an increase in thefts of electronics devices leading the way. Aggravated assaults had been declining, but grew from 2009 to 2010. The system experienced 119 in 2006; 106 in 2007; 92 in 2008; 94 in 2009; and 136 in 2010.

Videos on YouTube and blogs have increasingly appeared on the Web in recent months, drawing more attention to the issue of fights in the Metro system, which covers 86 rail stations, more than 300 bus routes and dozens of parking facilities.

Metro Transit Police devised a plan last summer to escort potentially disruptive groups through the rail system after a brawl where dozens of people boarded a Green Line train at Gallery Place. When the train arrived at L'Enfant Plaza, police have said, a fight spilled onto the platform. That fight led to the arrest of one adult and two juveniles and the hospitalization of four people.

Metro also announced that it would increase patrols at L'Enfant Plaza following a report of an attack on an adult at the station in early January.

To report a problem to Metro Transit Police, call 202-962-2121.

See the security report here, in pdf form.

By Washington Post Editors  | March 1, 2011; 12:56 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  Metro, wmata  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Today's transportation roundup
Next: Paving project on University Blvd.


Bernie Goetz, where are you?

Hopefully, someone will blast a group of marauding teens real soon!

Posted by: kenk33 | March 1, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

And last I heard, Metro management was still insisting that Metro police officers waste their time conducting random bag checks. Please consider protecting your riders from real threats instead of imagined ones, Metro.

Posted by: GordonCash | March 1, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

It's time for a few of these fine, upstanding citizens to meet the third rail.

Posted by: jckdoors | March 1, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Suitland Station...isn't that in lovely PG County?

Posted by: priveye | March 1, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

wow, things are out of hand, I was thinking we would have more positive actions out of Metro with the new GM/CEO

Posted by: letschangeit | March 1, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Save money. Make the Navy Yard the end of the Green Line.

Posted by: jeadpt | March 1, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Is it possible that 'Food Deserts' are the cause of this violence?

Maybe green jobs are more stressful..

I'm sure these folks are all good tax paying american's who just became stressed out because of putting themselves through school and working at the same time, or they are coming to/from a job making solar panels for organic houses.

I'm sure they are not hood rates or anything like that..

Posted by: redsky28 | March 1, 2011 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Fire Taborn.

Arm commuters and this problem will go away.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 1, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Bernie Goetz, where are you?

Hopefully, someone will blast a group of marauding teens real soon!

Good point, these animals need to be put down....guns should be legalized!!

Posted by: mark0004 | March 1, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Comedy Night on Dr. Gridlock talk.

Youse people are boring. Either give a good Zing or help with the problem. Stop wasting my time at work with these stupid sarcastic jokes.....SMMFH.....

Also, Fox5 had this story last night. And the guy said he saw them begining to harass a woman who tried to intervene and that's why he stepped in. So, I can feel him on that.......

Posted by: 4thFloor | March 1, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

This is what you get when you exempt MetroFail from the 2nd Amendment.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | March 1, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse


Will Kwame Brown and team ride the Metro?

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) said Tuesday he's going to work to "win back the trust" of city residents.


Posted by: kstobbe1 | March 1, 2011 5:35 PM | Report abuse


Will Kwame Brown and team ride the Metro?

D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown (D) said Tuesday he's going to work to "win back the trust" of city residents.


Posted by: kstobbe1 | March 1, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I am back in DC about one year now.

1. My Metrobus burned down completely on the beltway in VA
2. Rude employees yell at people from the bokth and the platform. What customer service training did they have. Do not interrup them when they are talking with friends socially however!
3. Smart cards keep failing and/or breaking. Take it to Metro Center. Take it home online. If you are new here, you get conflocting info from Metro staff. The print on the card is too small to be helpful.
4. Rarely see Metro police on trains or in stations...plain and simple security is after the fact, it is like MadMax in Metro
5.Large Construction equipment left unattended is an accident waiting to happen.
6. Escalators and elevators are a maintenance nightmare....and I have a cast on my foot.
7. Maintenance schedule makes Metro a waste of time on holiday weekends... just close it down completely since it is unsafe during single tracking and closed stations.
8. Rude commuter passengers are no better than rude youth when disabled people need a seat like me. Manners in public are dead. Metro police presence should be enough to improve rider behavior but where are they? Asked a Metro employee to help when a rider was "asleep" in 4 seats and I needed to sit with a cast on my foot. He told me the guy was asleep!
9. Food and trash are considered ok. Adults are worse than children in Metro. The staff in the booth rarely if ever stops anyone who has Starbucks in their hand....etc
10. If Metro does not police the system, riders sure as hell cannot for fear of reprisal. Stop letting criminals ride.
11. Homeless loiter and sleep at station entrance like Courthouse, bringing all manner of chairs, and baggage to the area.
12. Sad, sad, sad that our tax dollars mean so little to the employees as well as passengers of Metro, wasted freedom in the capital of the free world. What an embarrassment for us when tourists are here.

Posted by: RickBangkok | March 1, 2011 5:58 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing. Just wait until Spring comes to Pop Gun County!

Posted by: localgoober | March 1, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

No doubt about it, the thuggery happening in the Metro is gonna give birth to a Bernie Goetz moment, real soon... The sooner the better: these animals need to be put down.

Posted by: ProfessorPeabody | March 1, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Hate crimes. Whose idea was the Green Line.

Posted by: mpg515 | March 1, 2011 7:12 PM | Report abuse

The solution: more gentrification, less welfare. Statehood: NEVER!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wagtdn | March 1, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse

The solution: more gentrification, less welfare. Statehood: NEVER!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: wagtdn | March 1, 2011 7:18 PM | Report abuse


Last time I checked Maryland was a state. Maybe the solution is more education.

Posted by: Cossackathon | March 1, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Where are the Metro police when people are regularly being beaten up, robbed and mugged on the system? Oh that's right, they're looking for terrorists under the bed and in everyone's briefcases. Typical Metro. (And, btw, this is why we're screwed if there's ever a real terrorist attack-- they can't handle normal issues like hooliganism, rain, mechanical problems, malfunctioning escalators, much less a major catastrophe.)

Posted by: padnactap92 | March 1, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I believe the Guardian Angels are willing to ride the buses and train more often if Metro would give them passes to ride. The latest information I have is that they are paying their own way as volunteers and have limited funds. If there are not enough Metro police, then hire more or give the Angels passes.

Posted by: mitch661 | March 1, 2011 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Suitland used to be nice place to live. What happened to change it so much?

Posted by: COOLCHILLY | March 1, 2011 9:02 PM | Report abuse

All they have to do is limit use of the School Transit Subsidy Program to 7AM to 4PM and the problem stops.

Posted by: SpeakEasy3 | March 1, 2011 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Eliminate ALL Subsidies on ALL METRO Rail

Posted by: JadedCynic | March 1, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Could that idiot woman in red get any closer to the train?

Posted by: mortified469 | March 1, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I always attempt to be positive but sorry--- the Guardian Angels are a great idea but literally are one of the most ignorant organizations. If you have ever spent any time briefly speaking with 1 of the only 400 uniformed transit officers you would know that the Guardian Angels are more of a headache to the transit officers than anything. They are untrained and disjointed. I am not even going to post the "report" that their fearless leader posted on my neighborhood listserv last week--- it was just embarrassing.

Riders need to STEP UP band together and let anyone (or any SMALL group) know that they cannot act a FOOL on the Metro or they will be mobbed by the greater good. How many people act crazy?? Only a few (well it depends on the day) compared to the mass that doesn't.

Metro Personnel---- YOU SUCK. You are half of the problem if not more-- your "get that check" mentality is unacceptable. GET OFF YOUR phone-- and DO YOUR JOB.

Posted by: no1snowflake | March 1, 2011 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Wash Post, why no description of the suspects in any of these cases?

Posted by: RandyM1 | March 2, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Here's the program leading to the violence:

These thugs can get on and off Metro as many times as they want and go anywhere they want.

Why not limit the use of these preactically free passes to nolater than 6PM?

Posted by: RandyM1 | March 2, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Good start with the Guardian Angels, but we need the Punisher!! Seriously though, beef up the Transit Cop ranks, and give them tools to do their job. Some of these knuckleheads need their skulls cracked open!!

Posted by: UnknownHenson | March 2, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse

The Guardian Angels will probably do a better job than the transit police.

Posted by: CAmira5 | March 2, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

At least you will actually see the guardian angels. You never see those fatassed affirmative action hires actually on the trains or in the stations.

Posted by: PZ007 | March 2, 2011 3:46 PM | Report abuse

At least you will actually see the guardian angels. You never see those fatassed affirmative action hires actually on the trains or in the stations.

Posted by: PZ007 | March 2, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

4th Floor,
How have you been? Hadn't seen you on here in awhile. Hope all is well.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | March 2, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

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