November 17, 2011

D.C. Metro police adopts new crime-fighting tactics

When a teenager recently tried to steal a bicycle parked outside of the Prince George’s Plaza station, members of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) Transit Police Department (MTPD) Crime Suppression Team immediately moved in and apprehended him.

What the young man did not know was that the bicycle belongs to the Metro Transit Police and officers in casual clothing were nearby, closely watching the bicycle and the person about to steal it.

MTPD is using innovative techniques, including decoy bicycles, to further reduce crime in the Metro system. The Crime Suppression Team targets bicycle thefts and snatch robberies, identifies suspects and makes immediate arrests.

Since the team began their efforts about a month ago, it has made dozens of arrests, stopping would-be bicycle thieves and robbery suspects trying to escape with victims’ electronic devices such as iPhones or cash. The team also has arrested individuals for simple assault, drug and weapons possession.

MTPD emphasizes to riders the importance of remaining aware and alert at all times, protecting personal property while traveling throughout the Metro system and offers tips including:

•  Remain alert and aware of your surroundings.

•  Carry your electronic device in your front pocket or a place where it is not easily seen or in easy reach of others.

•  Avoid using an electronic device near the train or bus doors. Many “snatch robberies” take place as the doors are closing.

•  Avoid using an electronic device on platforms.

•  If you must use an electronic device, protect it by holding it with both hands at all times.

•  Change the color of your earphones. White or red wires can indicate that you're carrying expensive equipment.

•  When parking at a Metro facility, take all valuables with you. Remember to remove your GPS and holder from the windshield.

•  If parking a bike at a Metrorail station, use a high-quality lock that cannot be easily broken.

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