Dear PoP – Metro Train Safety

Photo by PoPville flickr user AWard Tour

“Dear PoP,

I keep reading accounts of people being attacked on sparsely populated Metro trains (late at night, on weekends, etc) – it seems like occurrences are becoming more and more frequent as reported on Police Department listservs.

Metro keeps reporting budget crunches, and I’m sure criminals and petty thieves know MetroTrains are easy venues for their activities, since Metro Police can’t be in every car, or even on every train.

Whenever I’m on Metro late at night, I always choose to enter a more populated car, but can we take our protection to the next level by collectively occupying the first or last car of each train – say after 8pm?

You know what they say – safety in numbers! How could we organize such a publicity campaign, or has something like this been attempted in the past?”

That’s why the Guardian Angels ride the metro. From the MPD listserv:

Friday August 28, 2010 aapproximately 8:20 pm Guardian Angels was patrolling
the green line from Annacostia to Gallery Place. When the doors opened up at
the Navy Yard stop, three males approximately 20 years old, were engaging in
a loud, heated argument. The three males began to fight. Guardian Angels
rushed in to stop the fight. The males were very aggressive. The Guardian
Angels had to detain the three males and call Metro Police. When the train
arrived at L’Enfant Plaza Metro Police took one male into custody for simple
assault and disorderly.

Honestly I ride the metro (including the Green line) quite frequently late at night and have never felt uncomfortable. There have been some highly publicized fights (featured on this blog) but I’d say they are still rather rare. I’m not saying I’m a tough guy, maybe I’ve just got lucky, but it’s always been fairly uneventful (perhaps some yelling and music but no fighting).

Anyway, what do you guys think – does riding the metro late at night make you feel uncomfortable?

Would you like to see a campaign to fill the first and last cars for safety or something like that? If so how would you recommend that campaign be launched? In cooperation with WMATA?

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