A D.C. mother says her two sons were the victims of crime and harassment on Metro recently while going home from school, and she's concerned for their safety.
“It’s not safe, and my kids don’t feel safe,” Cecilia Cuprill said. “And a lot of these kids don’t feel safe.”
Cuprill is a widowed parent living in Anacostia who works full time, and her boys go to the D.C. International School on the grounds of the old Walter Reed campus in Northwest.
“My kids have to take public transportation to school,” she said. “The commute takes them about an hour-and-a-half each way.”
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One day when her oldest son was going home from lacrosse practice, another rider started threatening him at the Eastern Market Station and then demanded his ear pods.
“So my son asked, ‘What will happen if I just walk away?’ And the young man said, ‘I will shoot you,’” Cuprill said. “And so, my son handed over the ear pods.”
A few weeks later her younger son was harassed on the Red Line.
“When I picked him up, he said, ‘Mom, you know, somebody tried to rob me,’” she said. “And I thought he was joking because this literally just happened to his brother. But he said, ‘No, I’m serious.’”
More people are riding Metro now compared to this time last year, but Metro’s numbers do show that crime is way up across the system.
There were 64 larcenies this January and February compared to 20 in February and January of 2022.
So far this year, 32 pickpockets have been reported compared to 19 at this time last year.
Overall, serious crimes like violent crimes and property crimes are up from 106 to 277 so far this year.
Metro has formed partnerships with a number of outside police agencies to help patrol the system.
“I do think people are giving us the understand that we are doing everything that we as a transit agency can do,” General Manager Randy Clarke said. “A transit agency can’t solve all of America’s ills and woes and societal issues. I think everyone is fair on that.”
“My kids should be safe going to and from school every day, and whether that’s increasing a presence on the Metro trains or at bus stops, then something needs to be done,” Cuprill said.
Metro is adding more cameras to its system as transit police will start wearing body cameras next month.
Metro Transit Police also ask riders for help by reporting crime.
“Since last year, we have renewed enforcement efforts for fare evasion and added more officers on patrols throughout the system during the busiest times of day including our partnership with local law enforcement agencies," Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly said in a statement to News4. "As a result, we have made 75 percent more arrests and issued 276 percent more citations. We believe this is in large part a result of our public safety initiatives and enforcement efforts.”
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