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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Year-old WMATA police unit meets crime prevention mandate


Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) Metro Transit Police Department Auto Theft Unit marked its one-year anniversary earlier this month — and the unit has more than one reason to celebrate.

Charged with preventing crimes in parking lots, the unit arrested 101 people during its first year. Officers’ efforts helped WMATA reduce crimes resulting in stolen cars and items within cars 26 percent and 23 percent, respectively, as well as reduce theft attempts 18 percent.

The unit comprises officers on motorcycles and bicycles, and in portable towers and in plain clothes, K-9 teams and WMATA employees on workers’ compensation assignments serving as parking lot observers. The unit works varied hours and shifts, and targets stations that statistically report the most crimes in parking lots. Auto theft officers share information with regional police departments.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/25/2004