Washington, D.C.’s Metro transit system undercounts serious crime at the region’s 86 rail stations, leaving dozens of assaults, robberies, and other major incidents off the official tally, reports the Washington Post. The practice stems from a policy not to count crimes handled by law enforcement officers other than Metro’s own police, even if the crimes occur in a station or on a subway platform. Transit Police do not count crimes on non-Metro property, such as walkways and parking lots, even if the victims are passengers.
Board Chairman T. Dana Kauffman said the system must change. All Metro-related crime “needs to be captured,” regardless of who handles it, he said. “We’re not going to do a Kabuki dance over ‘this is us and this is them,’ ” he said. The current bookkeeping method raises questions about claims by Metro officials that crime has fallen. In July, Metro boasted of a 24 percent reduction in aggravated assaults between June 2004 and June 2005. During an 18-month period reviewed by the Post, Metro counted 463 serious crimes at its rail stations, but 98 other, similar incidents remained off its books. That raises by more than 20 percent the total number of serious crimes — rapes, aggravated assaults, armed holdups, pickpockets and purse snatches.