Crime down on Metro; harassment, assaults on bus drivers up
Crime was down overall across the Metro system in the first six months of 2017, but sexual harassment and assaults on bus operators rose sharply, according to a report by Metro Transit Police.
Seven months after an annual crime review noted a dramatic rise in aggravated assaults, and an increase in violent offenses such as homicide and rape, transit police reported that such incidents were less prevalent on the system in the first half of this year. No killings or rapes were reported in the first six months of the year, according to the report. Robbery and aggravated assaults decreased 25 percent and serious crime was down 17 percent overall through June, compared with the same period last year.
The lower crime rates came amid a period of falling ridership; 6 percent fewer trips were taken across the rail and bus system this year compared with 2016.
But the lower numbers are unlikely to curb perceptions of violence in the system after several recent high-profile events. There were 55 criminal offenses committed on buses, compared with 48 during the same period last year; assaults on bus operators increased 20 percent.
According to the report, the number of harassment complaints jumped from 37 to 61. A majority of the complaints were classified simply as “harassment” and were not criminal offenses, according to the board presentation.
“We recognize that in the current political environment, [increased federal funding] will take time, but are hopeful if we present a united regional position it will help in our efforts with Congress.” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D)