Police are increasing patrols and security at five D.C. Metro stations in response to a rising crime rate that officials fear could be exacerbated by the Metro’s SafeTrack repair plan.
Metro officials installed a massive floodlight outside the Woodley Park Metro station to make commuters feel safer when leaving the station at late hours. Police will increase patrols and their security force Wednesday through Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3 a.m.. The security efforts will focus on the Adam’s Morgan, H Street, DuPont Circle and U Street stations, reports WUSA9.
Police are fearful the Metro’s 10-month repair plan could lead to increased crimes around stations, especially close to closing. SafeTrack closes stations throughout the system at midnight every night to allow for nighttime maintenance. Authorities fear passengers waiting outside stations for alternate transport after hours could present an easy target for criminals.
D.C. Metro officials responded to a troubling double-digit spike in the crime rate this year within the transit system before SafeTrack began. Metro police responded to public pressure by changing policy to notify the public of any incident of violence as soon as it happens. (RELATED: Crime In DC Metro System Sees Dramatic Year-Over-Year Spike)
A spokesman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said in May crime is up year-over-year by about 10 percent and is increasing. The alleged rape of a woman at knife point on a moving red line train in April, which broke in May, drew renewed concern among riders about the growing crime trend.
Several grisly crimes on the Metro this year stoked rider fears and led to an increased police presence at stations and more patrols. A mob of teens involved in a brutal assault of a passenger and police officer in January at the Gallery Place station had their charges dropped in April over a lack of hard video evidence.
“We’re not going to tolerate it,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a crime scene in the Deanwood Metro station in March. “Anytime somebody comes on Metro property, we’re going to know who they are.”
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