January 27, 2010

MBTA crime drops to lowest levels in 30 years


A total of 827 serious crimes were reported last year — 21% fewer than 2008. The number of aggravated assaults fell from 103 to 88. There were no homicides. More than 360 million passenger trips were made on MBTA services last year.


The total number of serious crimes on the Massachucsetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) dropped to their lowest levels since 1980, when 3,304 serious crimes were recorded, according to 2009 crime statistics released by MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan on Monday. 

A total of 827 these serious crimes, also known as Part 1 crimes, were reported last year — 21percent fewer than 2008. More than 360 million passenger trips were made on MBTA services last year. The number of aggravated assaults fell from 103 to 88. There were no homicides.

The most significant decrease was in the category of larceny or theft. The theft of property dropped 26 percent, from 701 to 522. Robberies decreased nine percent, from 208 to 189. MacMillan attributed the decrease to a number of factors but suggested the public awareness campaigns that the Transit Police have launched have had an undeniable impact.

One-third of all larcenies involve the theft of electronic items such as iPods, iPhones, Sidekicks and cell phones. “We continue to stress the importance of being aware of your surroundings, especially if you are texting or using any hand-held electronic device,” MacMillan stated.

MacMillan also credited the dedicated work of his officers in working closely with MBTA personnel and community partners. “Our Officers continue to work closely with fellow MBTA employees and our community partners,” he said. “They all deserve recognition for this reduction in crime.”

“Our point-of-entry policing strategy has had an impact and continues to pay dividends as we conduct fare evasion initiatives and make ourselves highly visible to customers entering the transit system,” added MacMillan. Fare evasion citations increased from 1,267 in 2008 to 2,864 in 2009.

Vehicle theft decreased from 27 in 2008 to 17 last year. More than nine million motor vehicles a year are parked in MBTA lots and garages.

Acting MBTA GM William Mitchell said the 30-year low in crimes is a testament to Chief MacMillan and his well-trained police force, and cited the collaborative efforts of MBTA personnel and Transit Police working together to make the MBTA as safe as possible.

Although listed by the FBI Uniformed Crime Reporting system as a Part II crime, the incidents of people being indecently assaulted on the MBTA decreased slightly from a high in 2008 of 69 to 60 reported assaults.

In April 2008 the MBTA and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center sponsored a joint campaign that empowered its passengers to do something when inappropriately touched while riding the T. That campaign was renewed in October of 2009 and has been highly effective in alerting passengers to this crime and empowering them to take some action. Arrests have been made in 38 percent of the incidents reported last year.

More information on crime statistics can be found at www.transitpolice.us.

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