Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority trains bypassed their five crimes per every million riders annual target, recording 5.4 crimes for every million riders, according to a security report presented to the WMATA Board Dec. 1.
The crimes counted in the report, labeled Part One Crimes by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, include homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.
The report, drafted by the Customer Service, Operations and Security Committee, finds overall crime on the Metro system decreased by 12 instances this year; however, homicides doubled from two in 2015 to four in 2016 and aggravated assaults increased by 28 percent, from 85 in 2015 to 109 in 2016.
Although online reports of sexual harassment fell by 22 percent, reports of rape increased from zero instances in 2015 to five in 2016.
The report credits the decrease in overall crime to a decreasing number of Metro riders because of surge projects, emergency station closings and single tracking events.
“The lower ridership resulted in an uptick in the rate of crime,” the report reads. “It is significant to mention that even though the target was not met, crime in the Metro system was reduced.”
Metrobus crime fell by almost 30 percent due to increased policing, which the report attributes as the most successful strategy for crime reduction.
The security report cited most aggravated assaults as being young men against other young men.
“In most attacks, the victim is punched with a fist, and in about a third of the cases, a weapon is used,” the report says. “The motives for aggravated assaults are divided among three prevalent categories: arguments, unknown and/or unprovoked attacks, and robberies or attempts to rob.”
Although theft snatches fell by about 31 percent, pickpockets increased by about 33 percent, with thieves targeting cell phones most commonly.
Denis Tchaouchev (SFS ’19), who uses the Metro to travel downtown every Monday and Tuesday morning for his internship at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, said overstuffed train cars could induce violence.
“It’s been pretty rough in the morning,” Tchaouchev said. “There’s overstuffed trains. People are being pushed out and having to wait for the next one, and then there’s been more delays. I’ve been late a couple times, so I can see why people have been frustrated after months of this.”
Georgetown University Student Association senator Ben Baldwin (SFS ’19) said he rides the Metro at least five times per week to get to his internship on Capitol Hill.
“After hearing that, I definitely have to remain more vigilant, and I’ll definitely be able to tell anybody else who rides the Metro to remain vigilant,” Baldwin said. “I’ll make sure that they’re watching themselves and watching their surroundings whenever they use the Metro, which is just a general good practice whenever you take public transportation.”
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