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Rail News: Safety

Reported crimes on WMATA's D.C. system drop 8 percent in 2005


Last year, reported crimes throughout Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) system declined 8 percent compared with 2004.

The agency’s Metro Transit Police Department issued reports on 1,144 “Part I” crimes — which include homicide, rape, aggravated assault, arson, larceny, burglary, motro vehicle theft and robbery — compared with 1,241 in 2004.

Motor vehicle theft decreased 16.5 percent and parking lot crimes dropped 13 percent. WMATA attributes the reduced parking lot incidents to the police department’s Auto Theft Unit, which was created in 2003. And in 2004, the authority transitioned to a cashless parking system that requires customers to pay parking fees with a smart card — meaning people need a SmarTrip card to exit the lot.

However, robbery reports throughout the system rose 11 percent to 322 compared with 290 in 2004.

“Part II” crimes — which include eating, drinking or smoking in the system, disorderly conduct and fare evasion — decreased as well, totaling 2,572 incidents compared with 2,980 in 2004.