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Property Thefts On Metro Drive 9.8 Percent Increase In Crime

It's becoming more common to see crimes on the Metro, especially robberies.
Armando Trull
It's becoming more common to see crimes on the Metro, especially robberies.

Crime is up 9.8 percent on Metro rail and bus through the first eight months of this year, compared to the same period in 2012. The data comes as part of a crime report being presented (pdf) to the transit authority's board on Thursday morning.

Seven of the top ten stations in terms of crimes are in the District, with Brookland receiving the ignominious distinction of most crimes in the Metro system so far this year.

The Metro report says 59 percent of crimes involve the theft of a cell phone or bicycle, and the overall increase in crime is attributed to a larger increase of these kind of thefts in the greater National Capital Region.

There have been 450 "theft snatches" involving electronic devices on the Metro so far this year, a 37 percent increase. This has prompted the transit authority to launch an awareness campaign, warning riders to protect their smartphones.

Kathy McCabe, for one, got the message.

"I only use it once in a while on a train," she says. "I kind of look around and see who is around me, and then I will pull it out and use it. But other than that, I don't."

The report also notes that Metro has taken steps to address the theft of bicycles, which has increased by 50 percent so far this year, with 303 incidents in all. Metro Police have held a campaign offering free U-Locks to Metro riders in exchange for registering their bicycles. The transit agency also opened the system's first secure "Bike & Ride" facility in College Park last year.

And while robberies are up slightly, assaults are down slightly — from 82 incidents during this period last year to 70 this year. Metro says its riders are less likely to be a crime victim on the system than outside the system.

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