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Greater Cleveland RTA reports decrease in crimes on buses and trains over last two years

August 10, 2018

Greater Cleveland RTA reports decrease in crimes on buses and trains over last two years

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The number of serious crimes committed on Greater Cleveland RTA buses and trains dropped over the last two years, according to the results of a recent audit.

The RTA reported 50 serious crimes over the first six months of 2018. That number represents a 59 percent decrease from the 123 serious crimes reported in the first six months of 2016, according to the results of a safety audit conducted by the agency.

Serious crimes include homicide, rape, armed and unarmed robbery, felonious assault, burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson, the audit says.

The RTA conducted the audit so it could report year-to-date numbers to its trustees, RTA CEO and General Manager Joe Calabrese said in a statement.

“The results are very encouraging,” Calabrese said. “It’s clear that the hard work RTA transit police do to keep our 200,000 daily riders safe is paying off.”

There have not been any homicides or rapes on RTA buses and trains in the first six months of 2018, the audit says. The agency reported one rape in the first half of both 2016 and 2017.

The RTA reported six robberies in the first half of 2018, an 80 percent drop from the 30 reported over the first half of 2016. Thefts are also down more than 50 percent, from 72 over the first six months of 2016 to just 35 so far in 2018, the audit says.

The agency invested in safety in recent years by hiring more transit police officers and installing security cameras on every bus and train, RTA Transit Police Chief John P. Joyce said in the statement.

“If you commit a crime, we’re going to see you and we’re going to arrest you,” Joyce said. “That’s a strong deterrent.”

The RTA now employs 136 full-time transit police officers, making it the second-largest law enforcement agency in Cuyahoga County, the agency said in the statement.

Quality-of-life crimes – such as misconduct on public transit and open container violations – dropped from 2,130 reported in the first six months of 2016 to just 510 in the first half of 2018, the audit says.

Disorderly conduct arrests have dropped 47 in the first half of 2018 compared to the first six months of 2016, the audit says.

Transit police officers are arresting significantly more drunk and disorderly people. Officers made 22 aggravated disorderly conduct – intoxicated arrests in the first six months of 2018, compared to just one arrest in the first half of 2016, the audit says.

“No one can ever completely prevent people from committing crimes on public transit – that’s a challenge for all major transit systems,” Joyce said in the statement. “But we have the people, the technology, the visibility and excellent response time. We work to make riding RTA safe for all of our riders, every day. That’s our number one priority.”

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