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Criminal acts dropped to five-year low in 2014's first half, WMATA says

Serious crime on Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) system dropped to a five-year low in the year's first half, WMATA's Metro Transit Police announced this week.

For the six-month period, criminal incidents declined 31.6 percent compared with the same period a year ago, WMATA officials said in a press release.

Police attributed the reduction to multiple factors, including increased rider awareness and outreach, data-driven officer deployment tactics, technology improvements and intelligence sharing with law enforcement.

Significant reductions in three areas helped drive the overall decline: mobile device thefts fell 49 percent; bicycle thefts dropped 35 percent; and robberies decreased 43 percent.

WMATA police have encouraged Metro riders to be part of the solution to drive down crime. For example, Metro last year released a series of videos showing cell phone snatch thefts, along with tips encouraging riders to hold their device with both hands and maintain awareness of what is happening around them.

Police also have made it easier for riders to report unattended items, panhandling, solicitation and suspicious activity by launching a new "Text Tips" program.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/10/2014