According to Chief Spokesman and Media Relations Press Officer for MARTA Lyle V. Harris, current MARTA police reports for the fiscal year 2014 (FY14) show a decrease in overall crime rates.
Harris said the current FY14 reports, which won’t be fully completed until the fiscal year term is over, show a 23 percent decrease in robbery-related crimes and a 22 percent decrease in aggravated assault-related crimes.
He said that the analysis of the two-year snapshot of Part 1 felony offenses on MARTA is tabulated by comparing year-to-date fiscal years 2013 and 2014 (July 1- March 23).
“…There has been a steady downward trend of Part 1 [felonies] overall; a 10 percent decrease comparing FY13 (405) and FY14 (365),” he said.
Harris also said there has been a 5 percent decrease in bus operator assaults.
The total crime report for each fiscal year is listed on MARTA police department’s four-year comparison webpage. In FY10 there were a total of 418 reported Part 1 crimes and 416 for FY11. In FY12, there were 455, and in FY13, there were 539.
FY11 had the lowest number of robbery crimes on MARTA (48), and FY12 had the smallest number of aggravated assault crimes (52).
Students share their experiences with security on MARTA
MARTA requested for the federal government for help with the rise in crime in 2012, according to WSBTV on February 21. WSBTV also said that transit systems would be placing bus marshals onto the trains and buses.
Keona Blunt, a sophomore interdisciplinary studies student with a concentration in law and society, said that although she doesn’t travel using MARTA all of the time, she prefers to use north and southbound over east or westbound.
“Anything southbound I won’t go on,” she said.
Blunt also that she would personally take extra steps and use alternative routes to avoid stations where she witnesses people being panhandled by other individuals.
“The security at Five Points and the airport (MARTA stations) is good because it is well lit. North Avenue is okay but I only see a few security guards,” she said.
Blunt also said that she wouldn’t use MARTA at College Park or the Civic Center MARTA stations due to poor lighting.
“I am not sure about the statistic because of various circumstances such as possible crime and soliciting happening outside of the MARTA stations,” she said.
The student also said that when she does ride MARTA trains she sees various MARTA police officers, but certain places such as the Georgia State MARTA station seem to be empty and deserted.
Senior sociology major Qwontez Mallory said that he wouldn’t ride MARTA trains at first because of the lack of security; however, he will ride them now that security guards are more present on the trains.
“MARTA police has made it much easier to ride the train, because due to the lack of security, people would stop riding after a certain time because of muggers, panhandlers and harassment,” Qwontez said.
He also said that security was the improvement that he wanted to see MARTA make.
“It has become safe to ride the train because some security guards have started riding the train and are in different train cabs,” he said.
MARTA makes safety initiatives
MARTA’s ‘See Something, Say Something’ campaign provides individuals with the opportunity to directly connect with MARTA transit police by downloading the app onto their phones. They can then proceed to send either a text message or snap a photo that is transferred to an individual for the passenger to communicate with.
MARTA also has a community outreach program. The website states that this specific program was created to improve community and police relations.
“The Community Outreach Program was created in an effort to improve police and community relations. The department offers a range of services and activities to help educate citizens about community policing, crime prevention, intervention, and outreach programs,” the website states.
The transit’s website also stated that individuals should be familiar with all station exits and know the location of emergency intercoms. The intercoms are used to report hazardous situations and suspicious behaviors.