Most Crimes Occur At Ends of the Lines

By Lena H. Sun
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 19, 2008

The 10 Metro stations with the most crime last year were stops at or near the end of the lines in Fairfax and Prince George's counties, Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said yesterday. Seven of the 10 stations are in Prince George's.

Problems were concentrated at stations with parking lots. Topping the list was New Carrollton, the last stop on the Orange Line in Prince George's, followed by Franconia-Springfield, the end of the Blue Line in Fairfax. Of the 10 high-crime stations, only one, Anacostia, is in the District. There were 36 vehicles stolen from New Carrollton last year and 51 larcenies. Franconia-Springfield reported 42 auto thefts and 43 larcenies.

More than 50,000 cars park at Metro lots daily.

Most of the crimes were thefts of autos and of catalytic converters, portable navigation devices and hubcaps, Taborn said at a Metro budget hearing before D.C. Council Member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1). Thefts of navigation devices are on the rise across the region.

At Anacostia, there were 32 robberies last year, most committed by groups of juveniles after school. "These are groups of juveniles snatching iPods and other devices from other juveniles," Taborn said.

To combat rising crime in the system and deal with crowd control at special events, General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. is asking for 28 additional police officers to augment the 420-officer transit police force in next year's budget. The $2.4 million for the officers is roughly the amount transit police spent on overtime to staff about 200 special events last year, officials said. Catoe has said he hopes to pay for the additional officers, including three sergeants, by reducing the budget in non-critical areas.

Taborn said Metro is deploying its auto theft unit to focus on hot spots for as long as two weeks, depending on crime trends, and is also deploying employees who are on limited duty because of injuries.

Although auto theft dipped last month, larcenies are on the rise, according to transit police statistics. Last month there were 61 larcenies system-wide, more than twice the 29 reported for the same month last year. There have been 145 larcenies this year, up from 113 for the first three months of 2007.

The other high-crime stations, designated as such mostly because of thefts and larcenies, are: Suitland (21 auto thefts, 37 larcenies), Greenbelt (12 auto thefts, 43 larcenies), Largo (11 auto thefts, 27 larcenies), Branch Avenue (19 auto thefts, 26 larcenies), Addison Road (five auto thefts, 30 larcenies), Vienna (10 auto thefts, 33 larcenies), Anacostia (32 robberies) and College Park (six auto thefts, 33 larcenies).

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