Metro Transit Police is trying something new to crack down on crime in Metro parking lots.
Officers are sending warnings to riders who leave valuable items visible in their cars.
“We’re looking for broken glass on the ground,” Metro Transit Police Officer M. Bradshaw said. “Maybe they keyhole punched.”
Transit police are patrolling the parking lots and garages looking for the things drivers forget to hide, which invite criminals to break in to their cars.
“The casings they stick on the windows? The patrons should take those down because the criminal sees that, he’ll think he just took the GPS off and put it away in the car somewhere,” Bradshaw said. “And then they leave their chargers in. They should put all those things away. That way it will cut down on the vandalism of the vehicle.”
“There’s a lot of time we see people leaving laptops or loose change, navigation devices in their windows. Sometimes they’ll leave cell phones,” Capt. Warren Donald said.
When police see these things before criminals, they’ll send a warning postcard to the registered owner of the vehicle.
“The material will say, Hey, the way that you secured your vehicle was not the best way to do it,” Donald said.
This initiative and others have been working to cut down on parking lot crime, police said. In 2008, there were 966 Metro parking lot crimes. That dropped to 819 in 2009, 733 in 2010 and 519 in 2011.
Metro said these initiatives helped take the New Carrollton station -- formerly ranked No. 1 -- out of the Top 10 list in Metro's crime report this year.