- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 16, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Despite an overall drop in crime, the number of robberies in the Metro system is up sharply, authorities revealed yesterday — the same day a shot was fired after a robbery on a Blue Line train shortly after the morning rush.

Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson said a robber on a train that left the Stadium-Armory station in Southeast, bound for Prince George’s County, approached a rider, pulled a gun and demanded his coat and backpack. The victim surrendered his belongings and told police the robber was tinkering with the gun when it fired.

“We have found a hole in the floor” of the train, Chief Hanson said. “No one was hurt, no one was struck.”

The assailant remained on the loose last night.

Robberies jumped 25 percent this year, and more thefts have been reported, Metro Transit Police said. Police reported 267 robberies from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30, compared with 214 during the same period last year. Chief Hanson said the attacks happened at various times and locations.

“That’s what makes it very difficult. If you have something that happens at the same station, same time or the same geographical area, you can do a very strategic, focused deployment,” Chief Hanson said.

“Now when it’s darker earlier, it’s colder, there are fewer people out. You need to be concerned about your personal safety,” Chief Hanson said.

Four rapes have been reported this year, but Chief Hanson said all but one was unfounded. She said a woman was having consensual sex with a man in the parking garage located at the Addison Road station on the Blue Line in Prince George’s County.

The man took her clothes and then his friend raped her, Chief Hanson said. The suspect was charged in the case.

Crime dropped overall by about 2 percent, with 1,159 incidents reported through the end of last month.

Motor vehicle thefts at station lots are usually Metro’s biggest crime problem, but this year, Chief Hanson says, car thefts dropped almost 25 percent. Police began an effort in 2003 to crack down on car thieves.

They have conducted similar stings against fare jumpers. The force reported catching more than 2,200 fare beaters, up about 525 over the like period last year.

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