Metro releases list of 10 most dangerous stations

(Eric Risberg - AP)
(Eric Risberg – AP)

Updated: 5:28 p.m.

Metro on Wednesday put out a list of its most dangerous rail stations, as officials said crime in the transit system is up nearly 10 percent.

Brookland tops the list with 44 crimes from January through August of this year.

The crime report is expected to be delivered Thursday by Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik to the agency’s board of directors at its monthly committee meetings.

We asked Metro for a breakdown of the crimes but they said we’d have to file a formal request, known in Metro-speak as a PARP or a Public Access to Records Policy — essentially a Freedom of Information Act.

When we asked why, spokesman Dan Stessel answered, “Because I said so.”

Stessel said, “It will take some time to compile those records. We don’t necessarily  break them down.”

We’ve filed the request, so stay tuned.

Officials said the rise in crime on the rail system’s 106 miles of tracks and 86 stations is being driven by an increase in thefts of cell phones, electronic devices and bicycles. Nearly 60 percent of the crime in the Metro system involves theft of a cellphone or bike.

The report describes thefts of cellphones as “‘rampant,’ not only in the Metro system, but is considered a national problem in urban areas.” It also said “the cultural norm of this crime is that the action is easy, the device is easy to conceal, the payoff is lucrative, arrest and prosecution is difficult, and victims are everywhere.”

From January through August, there were 450 thefts — up 37 percent for the same time period a year earlier, in the Metro system.

The top 10 most dangerous stations in the Metrorail system, and the total number of major crimes that occurred at each of them from January through August are:

1.) Brookland, 44.

2.) Deanwood, 41.

3.) Minnesota Avenue, 40.

4.) Gallery Place, 35.

5.) Rhode Island Avenue, 34.

6.) L’Enfant Plaza, 33.

7.) Capitol Heights, 33.

8.) Benning Road, 30.

9.) West Hyattsville, 28.

10.) Vienna, 28.

In an e-mail, Stessel elaborated on the crimes at each station. He wrote, “The numbers shown in the report do not necessarily reflect the number crimes that occurred at a particular station.  If a crime occurs aboard a train, for example, it is shown at the station where the report was made.”
Later Wednesday, Stessel sent the following breakdown of crime at the top three stations: Brookland, Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue.

Brookland:
40 larcenies (13 bicycles + 23 snatches + 4 other)
1 attempted larceny snatch
2 armed robbery
1 attempted robbery

Deanwood:
1 Aggravated Assault
28 Larceny (27 snatch + 1 other)
1 attempted Larceny Snatch
3 Armed Robbery
6 Robbery Force & Violence
1 Robbery Fear

Minnesota:
1 Arson (fire at bus stop)
2 Aggravated Assault
25 Larceny (1 bicycle + 1 from auto + 1 auto + 8 other + 12 snatch)
5 Armed Robbery
5 Force & Violence
3 Attempted Force & Violence
1 Robbery Fear

The report also said bicycle thefts are up by 50 percent this year, and police say it is as lucrative a payoff as cellphone thefts.

Metro has also started to more closely monitor reports of sexual harassment on its system after riders complained that it wasn’t taking such allegations seriously. In 2013, there were 71 reports of sexual harassment, the agency said.

Of those, 10 are being “actively investigated,” police said, and in the rest, either the victim didn’t want to pursue a formal report, no crime was committed, or the victim wanted to remain anonymous, according to the report.

Dana Hedgpeth is a Post reporter, working the early morning, reporting on traffic, crime and other local issues.
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