There has been a 40 percent increase in robberies in the first eight months of the year, according to Metro officials.
Metro Transit Police statistics released ahead of Thursday's Metro board meeting show a 5 percent increase in overall crime in
the transit system. There were 1,115 incidents in the first eight months of 2008 and 1,173 during the same period this year.
The number of reported robberies grew from 370 between January and August last year to 524 during the same period this year. Meanwhile larcenies fell from 548 in 2008 to 470 this year.
One has to wonder if those numbers will only go higher with the increased use of iPhones on the Metro system. Now that AT&T-enabled iPhones can work at 20 underground platforms, more people will have the devices in hand while they're waiting for trains, making them easy targets for criminals. Could the increased use lead to more iPhones being swiped?
But iPhones aren't the most-popular items evildoers are after this year. Higher on their wish list? North Face jackets.
Metro Board Chairman Jim Graham told the Examiner that the jackets are all the rage among criminals this year, but actually taking one from a Metro rider "requires some amount of coercion." Obviously.
The Examiner reported that Gallery Place/Chinatown is the highest crime station in the Metro system, followed by Metro Center and L'Enfant Plaza. Crimes involving vehicles shows different hot spots -- New Carrollton, Southern Avenue and Franconia-Springfield.
In May, the transit system added 20 cameras outside 12 stations to address an increasing number of robberies. Metro has also added two dozen members to its police force and accepted more than $30 million in federal grants to enhance its video surveillance