Theft on the Metro

Theft has increased on the metro

Metro riders may be sacrificing their safety for convenience. According to Washington Transit Authority five-year crime report crimes in and around Metro have increased drastically.

Although there have been less aggravated assaults and no rapes or homicides, Metro is reporting that serious crimes have increased more than 15 percent in 2008. Crimes that have substantially increased, however, are robberies and larceny, especially in Metro parking lots.

“Most robberies take place in our parking lots,” said Cathy Asato, a Metro system spokesperson. “But that’s not to say that there aren’t robberies on the trains and buses.”

From 2004 to 2008, overall acts crimes have jumped from 1,361 to 1,821. Robberies have increased by a third from 2007 to 2008 and larceny, which is theft without the owner present has seen the highest increase.

Despite this Asato said that certain acts of crime have decreased since last year.

“There are a variety of reasons for that,” she said. “But we have seen a 40 percent increase in arrests so that may be reason.”

Still, riders, especially college students are concerned about their safety. Since most students leave their cars at home when they journey to college the metro is their only source of transportation.

“I have to ride the bus and train everyday to get to and from my internship,” Nadia Rodriguez said, a recent graduate from the University of Maryland College Park. “It’s scary because I’m always wearing my iPod and I know I should pay attention to my surroundings.”

Most of the thefts recorded have reported stolen small electronics such as iPods, BlackBerries, and cell phones.

“Conceal your expensive electronics and be aware when you are walking,” Asato said.

Riders like Tonisha Roberts, a senior at Howard University are more concerned about parking her car in parking lots the Metro provides.

“I’ve already had my car broken into in D.C., she said. “You would think that it would be safe in a parking lot, but it’s not and I don’t want to risk that.”

Roberts, 21, has a car but said she chooses to ride the Metro because the stop is walking distance from school.

“But it’s like you’re not safe. Not on the Metro and not outside. Definitely not safe,” she said.

But like most college students, Roberts and Rodriguez said they will continue to ride the metro because of its convenience.

“There is no other alternative when you don’t have a car,” Rodriguez said. “So I’ll endure the fights on the Metro and all the crazy stuff that happens. And yes, I really do see fights.”