Crime down on Metro; ha­rass­ment, as­saults on bus driv­ers up

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - — Faiz Sid­diqui

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)

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