Monday, November 14, 2005

What happened-Thursday

I have written the facts about what happened Thursday. In a separate post I will write about the assault I witnessed this morning. I will also try and summarize my complaints/suggestions for Metro, regarding how they enable crime on their trains and in their stations.

What happened on my way home from work, Thursday
On Thursday, November 10 I boarded a Red Line Metro train in Bethesda, around 4:15 p.m., intending to travel to the Cleveland Park station, on my way home, via a 5 station commute that I take every weekday. I was riding on the last metro car, as often is my habit, and I entered through the most forward of the three sets of doors. I sat in the first row of seats on the right side of the train, so I was facing forward in the direction of travel.

My coat was on my lap, my purse and my tote-bag were on my right, in between me and the wall. I was holding my iPod and my SmartTrip card. The train was not crowded, but there were about 15-20 other passengers. At Van Ness, a group of about 5-7 high-school age teenagers boarded the train. Two of them sat behind me, and 3-4 sat in the first two rows across the aisle. One of them, wearing a green camoflauge military jacket stood directly in front of me, looked me in the eye, and then sat down next to me. She kept pushing closer into me, so I was thinking about getting up and moving to another seat. At this point, one of them behind me, reached over my shoulder and grabbed my iPod out of my hands. She then stood up, laughing and smiling, and ran to the back of the train, with the others, except for the girl in the military jacket. I stood up to follow them, and the military-jacket girl stood up, and grabbed me by the shoulders. One of the others grabbed my Smart Trip card, which I had left on the seat when I stood up. I told them they wouldn’t be able to use it anyway, since I had registered it, but they laughed and kept it.

I was still holding my jacket, purse, and tote-bag. I was visibly upset, and asked the laughing girl in the back to please return my iPod. The group laughed, and the military-jacket girl continued to hold me at the front of the train. She then threatened me, “Don’t you touch my sister!” and I assume she was referring to the girl who took my iPod, and was laughing in the back of the train. At this point I became frightened that the girl might have a weapon in her jacket, and I jumped backwards, away from her. I looked around at the other passengers on the car, and I asked them repeatedly if any of them would help me. Someone asked me what was happening, and I said that this group of teenagers was mugging me, and that the ones in the back had my iPod. Someone asked me if I knew these girls, and I said no. One man with a mustache got up and went to talk to the train driver on the intercom. Another man got up and tried to talk to the military jacket girl, and reason with her. The train stopped at Cleveland Park, and the girls got off the train. I also got off the train, and they jumped back on, so I got back on, and this went on back and forth. I held the doors open, but the driver yelled to let go of the doors, even though the man with a mustache was still on the intercom, telling the driver what was going on. The driver just kept trying to close the doors on me, and saying over the intercom for me to let go of the doors. I yelled for help to the station manager, but he/she never came out of the booth.

The group of muggers than ran over to a train which had pulled up, going in the opposite direction. I ran over after them, and boarded the train one car behind them. I called 911, which transferred me to Metro Police. At the same time, I asked a woman on this train to intercom the driver, and she did. The woman pointed out to me that the group was moving through the emergency only doors between the trains, away from us, and she suggested I follow them, but I did not. I spoke to Transit Police on my phone, and told them what was happening. Meanwhile the driver of the second train repeatedly yelled to me to stand clear of the doors, and he slammed them on me several times. He held the doors shut on me so hard, that I was in pain, and when he released them, I stepped into the train, so as not to be hurt again. The woman on the train was still talking to him on the intercom, but I don’t know what their conversation was. After the driver shut the doors, the train departed, for Van Ness. Meanwhile, I spoke with Transit Police on my phone, and I told them no one from Metro helped me at Cleveland Park, and I asked if anyone would be there to help me at Van Ness. She said no one was at at Van Ness, and that no one was at Cleveland Park. Back at Van Ness, the doors opened again. I looked outside, and I saw the group run across again to a train that was traveling in the opposite direction. I also ran across to that train, although I boarded in a different car. I was still on the phone with Metro Police. They asked for the car number, and someone else on the train pointed it out to me. I gave her the number. In any case, the Transit Police on the phone collected my name and phone number, but when the service broke in the tunnel, they didn’t phone me back. After waiting about 30 seconds-1 minute, I phoned 911 again, and they transferred me to Metro Police, and I had to tell my story all over again—still scared and upset, still while trying to keep an eye on the group of muggers. The officer on the phone told me to look and see if they got off at each stop, and advised me to STAY on the train, following them. As each stop passed, I got more and more worried, because no one was waiting to meet me, and although I kept looking to see if the muggers had gotten off, as we traveled more into downtown, there were more and more people getting on and off and it was hard to see. We passed, Cleveland Park again, Woodley Park, Dupont, and it was not until Farragut North that there was an officer waiting on the platform.

I walked up, towards the front of the train to meet the officer. As I passed the train, I tried to look into the other cars to see if I could see them. The officer asked me for descriptions. I wish some of the many other passengers on the train had offered to stay with me, and serve as witnesses to the crime they saw take place right in front of them. None of them did, not on any of the three trains.

The officer wouldn’t let me look through the train, which was at last stopped. She said “other officers” were doing that. Instead she tried to get me to help her with more descriptions of the crime. The train pulled away, and I burst into tears. The officer was kind and patient, and although I couldn’t stop crying, I tried to give her the information she needed, and she tried to answer my questions about Metro’s (in)actions. I asked with disbelief, what Transit Police had meant on the phone when they had told me “no one is in Van Ness or Cleveland Park.” She said, what they meant was “there is a difference between Metro staff and Metro Police. They meant there were no Metro Police at those stations. There were station managers present, but they often don’t respond to situations like this, because they are afraid for their own safety. They are often targets themselves.” She told me that the drivers should have stopped the train. She told me she was at the Farragut North stop already, because she was patrolling for groups like these because “they do this all the time.” It was planned, it was common, and Metro knew about it—but I can’t understand why I had never been warned! How many people have been robbed on the Red Line by groups of teenagers? Why is that information not given to riders, so they can take steps to defend themselves (i.e. standing, not sitting, and keeping valuables out of sight and tightly guarded, and keeping distance between yourself, if you are traveling alone, and between large groups of teenagers) She even gave me information for what to do if I have a “second sighting” because she said that these groups often ride the same trains, at the same time of day. If they are this predictable, why isn’t something being done? Of course they’re riding the same trains, at the same time of day, since they know they will get away with it! They know station managers are too intimidated to come out of their booth, they know drivers do not acknowledge what people tell them through the emergency intercoms, and that the drivers will not stop the trains for crime happening onboard, and they know transit police are rare to be found in most stations, and in that response time is slow enough to give them plenty of time to get away (AND TO EVEN FLEE THE CRIME SCENE BY METRO TRAIN!) She also said, rather than calling 911 or to use the emergency intercom to speak with the drivers, that I should call Metro Police directly. Why are the emergency intercoms there if the drivers don’t stop the trains for emergencies? Why is the Metro Police number not written up on the wall and in BIG NUMBERS in every car, for victims to call? Why can’t DC Police respond if they are closer?

A male officer had found 4 young girls, one of them wearing a military jacket. They had me walk by with the female officer to see if I recognized them. I was supposed to be walking by surreptitiously, and so I wasn’t able to stand in front of them and try and figure out if I had seen them.. The one wearing the jacket looked different to me, and I didn’t see the girl that had taken the iPod either. If these girls were the others in the group, and one of them had just been given the jacket by the other girl, I wouldn’t know. And I didn’t want to risk getting innocent girls in trouble. The police had checked their bags already and not found my iPod, so they were allowed to go.

And then they were done with me, said they would keep an eye out, and I was advised to check with Metro Lost and Found, in case the girls “got spooked because it was engraved” and turned it in. I was told to call another number Monday/Tuesday to get a copy of the police report. Two other female officers showed up at the end, expressing sympathy about the loss of my iPod—actually what one of them said was “Man, if someone stole my iPod I’d be so upset.” I am not sure that they understood—I wasn’t crying because I didn’t have my iPod anymore. I was crying because I was violated and scared from my first experience of being a victim of crime. I was scared and shocked because the attack had happened in front of lots of other people, during the daytime, and lots of Metro Staff (station managers, train drivers, transit police on the phone) had had the opportunity to stop the whole thing (by just holding the train and waiting for the transit police to arrive), and no one did anything. I have suspected Metro is not prepared for a terrorist attack on the subway system—I had even volunteered to be a fake victim of a mock attack, so Metro could simulate what would happen. But this was supposed to take place a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina, and the simulation was postponed indefinitely, and I have heard nothing since. I really wanted to be part of the simulation, because I feel that Metro is not ready, and I wanted to be part of any effort to make it more safe. For instance, there are three sets of emergency doors on each car. In an emergency, you can only open one set of the 6 doors—the middle one on the side of the tunnel which should be illuminated. So if you can’t get out of that one door for whatever reason, you have to exit through the emergency doors into the next car—and the fact is that all the time people are blocking these doors with luggage, or because the train is overcrowded. And in a real emergency, in a dark, smoky, crowded and panicked train—I don’t think it really matters if you HAVE managed to read the safety panel (usually in only one spot on the train, and if it is crowded and you can’t move around, I don’t know how anyone would even know about the evacuation instructions), it will be next to impossible to get out.

In any case, the officer told me she had spoken with Woodley Park, and informed them I would be arriving there without a Smart Trip card, and to let me out. Of course when I got there (still anxious to be traveling alone on the Metro after being just attacked on a train) the station manager hadn’t a clue what I was talking about. So I had to tell her the story, and ask her to let me out, so I could go home. I did manage to find my Smart Card, I reported it stolen, the balance was $3 less, so they used it—too bad they couldn’t track them in that way!).

Dear Metro,
Here is the conclusion to a lengthy letter to Metro I submitted Monday night. The beginning was my account of the event on Thursday (similar to above). This is the end:

Finally, I would just like to say, I appreciate so much the metro police that have been trying to help, and that are still trying to help. The officer who responded to me first at Farragut North seemed genuinely determined to do her job, and fix what she could. I just wish there were more resources being put into safety on Metro. Obviously police can not help situations when they require long times to arrive at crime scenes. Metro obviously has a responsibility, once it has been informed of emergencies, to at least NOT HELP criminals get away. Providing criminals transportation to flee crime scenes should NOT be part of appropriate Metro protocol. I am sorry if it may be momentarily inconvenient for public transit, but in the bigger picture, safety comes first. Crimes are reported, trains should stop, police should arrive. That is the least that should be expected. Victims should not be ignored on emergency intercoms, victims should not be slammed repeatedly in train doors, when drivers have been informed of the situation. If trains are not stopped to wait for metro police, because Metro does not want extensive delays to transportation--well then maybe that highlights the fact that responses to emergencies and crimes are too long. And if station managers can not mangage to manage security incidents in their stations, I wonder what it is they are really there to manage at all. "Appropriate protocol" needs to be revised so that safety and security may be managed everywhere in Metro.

I believe that Metro´s complacency with their "appropriate protocols" is enabling crime to thrive on the Metro. Metro has a responsibility to its passengers to inform them of all crime incidents, so they can better prepare themselves to attempt safe commutes. Metro has a responsibility to its passengers to not ignore calls for help. Metro has a responsibility to its passengers to contain crime scenes, and to NOT knowingly transport criminals fleeing their crime scenes. If station managers are too intimidated to leave their booths, and answer a lone woman's calls for help from a group attack, then someone else who has authority to not be afraid should be there. Station managers themselves should not have to attend jobs that they fear.

On my first ride on Metro after this incident, I was witness to another assault on a rush hour Red Line metro train, on a train nearing the Bethesda station at 9 am Monday. This incident also allowed the assailant to move freely about the station, and depart at his leisure. I will comment on that situation in a separate form.

34 Comments:

Blogger Scenic Artisan said...

damn, i'm really sorry to hear that story.

15 November, 2005 13:09  
Anonymous dega717@yahoo.com said...

Hello, I'm writing because I have a strong inclination to believe your incident is with a team of young Black teenagers that I have had a similar experience with, except I was able to avoid being robbed. I have included my original report to Metro and their response to me. I have also had a "subsequent" experience whereby these young teens, who number anywhere from 4 to 7 girls traveling together, were yelling and "singing" at the top of their lungs and personally provoking other metro riders to get reactions or to divert attention from planned criminal activity. I can easily identify them from my Dec 2004 Union Station incident because I made extended eye-contact with all them.

===
Case Number: ------
Date of posting: 12/6/2004
Date of incident: 12/4/04 8:00 P.M.
Rail car number:
Railline: Red
Destination: Glenmont
Location where incident took place: platform bench
nearest Amtrak exit
Comment: At approximately 8:00 pm, 4 juvenile females sat on the bench back, not the bench seat, and began to verbally harass
me. At the time, we were the only partrons in that area. They used
profanity and a variety of insults to provoke a reaction from me.
Although I mostly ignored them, I was aware that the female seated
nearest me was the most offensive and exhibited extreme interest in my purchases in shopping bags. I repositioned and guarded my purse and bags to avoid being robbed, but I did not demonstrate fear or allow them to intimidate me. One female threw french fries at me from her McDonald's bag of food until I threatened to have them arrested. They then attempted to explain how their behavior was a joke. Again several seconds
later, they began using profanity and insults to harass me. Luckily, my train arrived and I was able to fool the 4 juveniles as to the car I was boarding. I boarded a separate car from the one they boarded. This incident occurred minutes after a Metro worker had passed by all of us seated on the bench. I noticed that the 4 juveniles also spoke to the male Metro worker with inappropriate language. As a long time resident, I am commenting that Metro should police Union station more. Rowdy and verbally abusive juveniles
frequent this stop routinely on weekends and frankly, I'm disappointed that the metro worker casually ignored the juveniles when they harassed him. Although, I could have called for help and used the emergency intercom, I chose to handle the situation calmly. These young women were a
menace and feeling that I was alone, I used my wit and lack of
fear to stand up to them and let them know I would not be intimidated.
Please make Metro safer at Union Station. Enforce rules against offenders and police this station against juveniles who break all rules because they expect to be treated with leniency. Please inform me of the best way I can call for help when a situation like this presents itself.
===
Dear ----,

Thank you for your recent e-mail. We appreciate you
bringing this matter to our attention. We are consistently working on ways
to abate this type of behavior.

Our officers are deployed in geographical areas or
beats, similar to that of local police departments. Typically these
beats within Metro comprise three/four stations and the trains that
traverse them. Unfortunately, logistics prohibit us from being able
to be in every station or aboard every train. We rely heavily on
information from our customers and employees to report incidents of this
nature. Should you encounter a similar situation in the future, you can
use the intercoms adjacent to the bulkhead doors to notify the train
operator of the situation. The train operator will ensure that
notification is made to the police and we can have the closest officer
intercept the train. If you feel that this would not be conducive to your
continued safety, you may move to an adjacent rail car to make the
notification, or exit at the next station and use one of the intercoms on a
pylon marked with reflective tape and the word "EMERGENCY."

I have forwarded your e-mail to our Transit Police
office for their records, and I hope that this information will
increase your confidence in the safety of our system.

Again, thank you for taking the time to report your
experience to us.

Sincerely,

Ms. Woltz
Customer Service, WMATA

15 November, 2005 14:16  
Anonymous Tom said...

I had a similar situation earlier this year, where I was assaulted by a huge, angry, crazy guy on the Red line. I was in the front car right next to the driver, and was banging on the window the whole time. He did stop to look at us momentarily a few times, but didn't even stop. I didn't expect him to come out, but he could have called the police and announced that he had done so on the PA. Let's face it... at least some Metro employees don't give a crap if you get your ass kicked on their train. You're on your own.

I wrote WMATA, and they simply said that I was right… the driver should have done something. I have no idea if anything ever happened to the driver.

FYI, I was assaulted *because* I had stood up for a lady who was being assaulted by the guy. And a car full of passengers did nothing. So it’s not just WMATA. Your fellow riders are cowards too.

15 November, 2005 15:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gangs of rowdy teenagers on the last car of the red line are a long-standing problem. I have lodged many complaints to the station managers about them.

You would think Metro would catch on and have an officer riding the train but I have never seen any.

For people reading this blog I can offer two bits of advice:
1) Never ride the last car on the red line.
2) If a situation makes you uncomfortable leave the car at very next stop.

15 November, 2005 20:38  
Blogger Jack said...

Two words: Pepper spray. It's legal in DC, gets through metal detectors (if you work on the Hill or in a secure building), and will leave the b1tches rolling on the floor until help (eventually) arrives. I'm a man and I carry mine everywhere.

16 November, 2005 17:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, that is horrible. i used to worry about sketchy people especially when i had my ipod out, but then kinda stopped caring...i guess this is a wakeup call to be more alert. i'm very sorry it had to happen to you, and that so few people helped you out. the first time you are a victim of a crime can be especially horrible if there are people around you and they do nothing...it kinda makes you doubt goodness in the world. hope you're doing better.

16 November, 2005 18:38  
Blogger Mike said...

I find it comical that the only time I seem to see Metro Police is when they are driving around the city, or the suburbs in SUVs, rarely in the stations or on trains... makes you wonder. So much for mass transit.

17 November, 2005 00:02  
Blogger Cassandra Burton said...

It is absolutely awful that you got robbed. Thanks for your post, I always felt like the red line was safe, but your story reminded me that public transportation is not safe. From now on, I will be more aware of my surrondings and maybe get black headphones for my ipod.

17 November, 2005 11:52  
Anonymous Eric said...

Two suggestions:
1 - Contact the WashPost, I would bet they'll be interested in the story.
2 - Show up on one of the finally implemented WMATA public forums and relate the whole story and ask for an explanation about the response to your incident and how they’ll ensure that a similar response doesn’t happen to anyone else. Additionally, if you email WMATA, don’t use their webform, but send it directly to csvc@wmata.com, and CC your WMATA board members on there (you’ll need to track them down along with their official email addresses at whatever jurisdiction they represent).

18 November, 2005 14:14  
Blogger Sandwich Repairman said...

Hey, I emailed your story to the Post's top transportation reporter, Lyndsey Layton. You might want to contact her too. laytonl@washpost.com. Also, I would contact the Metro Board members who represent the jurisdiction you live in. Chris Zimmerman in Arlington County is very good, and Jim Graham or Dan Tangherlini in DC should be responsive.

This outrage needs to be publicized so people know about it and Metro can be held accountable.

18 November, 2005 14:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

if they used your metro card, you still may be able to catch them...it might be a stretch, but they could review the security tapes around the same time that the metro card was used...wouldn't their computer systems have the station, time, and turnstile used to exit? if so, it's worth trying.

21 November, 2005 09:39  
Anonymous prosumer@aol.com said...

First, I'm sorry you were assaulted and hope you are regaining some your self confidence. It will no doubt take time and I"m sure you'll never ride a metro train without having flashbacks of this experience.

I'm appalled at how incompetent Metro is trying to intervene in an incident like yours. They control the trains and tracks, station ingress and egress, and communications system and a band of teenage hoodlums can roam with impunity as if they declared Metro their territorial right.

Learning that there is a pattern of behavior in play, that other riders have reported, only makes Metro's defenses sound more disingenuous. It all just confirms how our bureaucrats rule the land of mediocrity.

I ride Metro every day from Northern Virginia into DC. I must confess, it is an uneasy ride. While I have never been the subject of any confrontation or witnessed any agressions against other riders, the Metro system feels extraordinarily vulnerable and that translates into personal feelings of insecurity.

It's disturbing that the other riders did not come to your rescue. But, I wonder what I would do if I witnessed an attack against another rider. I'd like to believe I would provide reinforcement but I'm not 100% certain I would. I'm not sure the adage "safety in numbers" applies on Mass transit systems. I have always felt the riders sitting around me were ghosts and only provided a false sense of security. You have proven that suspicion correct.

Your incident does underscore my biggest fear about riding Metro: Metro management is not prepared to defend against an organized, terrorist threat. PERIOD. As I stand on the Metro platform at the Pentagon each day and look into the tunnel I'm convinced anyone could easily wander into that restricted domain. Each station I travel through exhibit the same exposures.

If Metro is not able to intercept a group of teenage misfits, I don't believe they are equipped to intercept the first terrorist cell that decides to make Metro their next target.

Again, sorry for your experience. You have heightened my awareness even more and I would like to believe I would have been one to help had I been on your car at the time.

21 November, 2005 09:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry about what happened. Not only is it the Red Line, but Orange and Blue both directions. It is really sad that passengers ignore assaults on others and loud and obnoxious behaviour by teens. Cameras, that's what should be on each car. Have the news media show the behavior/assault on television. Maybe if some of these parents seen how their little darlings actually behaved in public, more would be done. The embarassment of having everyone identify you as the person with the filthy mouth, should curtail some of the behavior. If it doesn't embarrass the teen, it sure as hell should embarrass the parent(s).

Anyone at any time can be assaulted. Go to the next car & contact the operator - DO SOMETHING. It may be you the next time. Crime affects everyone!

21 November, 2005 13:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had an incedent like this happen on the Red Line about six months ago. A group of six young black females got on at Van Ness around 5:15 pm. The car was crowded and two of them took the seat next to me and one in front of me. They screamed and yelled at each other in an attempt to intimidate other passengers, then the girl in front of me started turning around in the seat and pushing an older woman seated next to her. When this went on for about a minute, I yelled back at the top of my lungs "Why are you yelling?". It briefly stopped, then the girl next to me pushed me into the seat. At that point I had had enough, and I pushed the girl next to me hard enough so she fell out of the seat. She screamed "Racist, racial attack, Rodney King". The train stopped and most passengers got out. I thought that the Metro police would come, but the doors closed and the train started. All five or so of the girls were now screaming and yelling and running up and down the train. They got off at the next stop. Not one Metro employee bothered to find out what had happened.

21 November, 2005 21:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

metro's response sounds pitiful. and what happened to you is atrocious. but i think this post lacks perspective. i also think it's irresponsible for you to raise the very real and scary threat of terrorism just because you got mugged. do you think they would have responded differently to the threat of a terrorist attack? how would anyone stop an attack similar to the ones in london and madrid?
on a positive note, i found your suggestions useful.

22 November, 2005 16:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is atrocious. I often ride from Bethesda or Friendship Hts. to Van Ness in the afternoon and have always ridden in the last car to be close to the escalator at VN. This is because the platform is filled with rowdy young people and I didn't want to walk the platform alone from further down. But in the last year it has become hard to even exit the train as they crowd the car doors and won't move to let me off. We need an officer of the Metro police on the platform!!! Does someone have to actually have a heart attack first?

23 November, 2005 07:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry to hear about this incident. I ride metro every day to work and have seen groups of these obnoxious black female teenagers too. They yell, sing, and disturb everyone else on the train as if it's their own stomping ground... but until reading your article I didn't realize that they also are thieves. I'm also surprised that this happened on the Red Line in NW Washington which is "supposed" to be the safest section of DC. Your story reminded me that public transportation is never safe and from now on I will be much more careful and will never trust metro again. Again, I'm so sorry this happened to you and thank you for educating the rest of us.

24 November, 2005 23:01  
Anonymous Andrianna said...

It's strange that I received a link to your letter today b/c I saw this group of teens just this morning at the Van Ness stop (camo jacket and all). I also didn't realize that they were theives but they were pushing and beating up on each other and I was afraid that one may push the other into the train or something. All the other passangers were clearly uncomfortable as well. Wish that Metro would do something...but I suppose it's hard to when they just jump on a train and off they go. Thanks for making us all informed.

29 November, 2005 12:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BEWARE ALL: since it's the holiday season, these girls will be in full force with their "method of operation" & loving the thrill of assaulting metro riders, stealing shopping bags, and physically creating distractions to force people to hand over cellphones, ipods, and anything else they want.

30 November, 2005 15:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's it, we need to forward the original blog entry to fellow metro riders so next time something like this happens more of us will have the presence of mind to band together.

As for station managers who don't respond to crime--what cowards. Yea, spend your energy dealing with people eating in the metro system and ignore the real crime. This, plus the embezzlement stories from last season--Metro, right now, you have the reputation for being embarrassingly incompetent. There is also a racial element here which I think should be more motivation to shape up--prove that you can change for the better. We will be behind you if you lead the change.

10 December, 2005 10:44  
Anonymous John said...

What I have learned in life is that you can always complain about injustice, about incompetence, about 'it should be like this.' But complaining and protesting does not fix anything. Things happen because someone important thought this is the best way for things to be and hence it is the way it is. Therefore an inneffective -but can't think of anything better- 'protocol' was created.

If you want to solve this, learn what the protocols actually are. It should be written somewhere. If it isnt written, that is the first thing that should be fixed. Determine how the protocal should be changed in exact wording and propose it. Hand it over to proper authorities. And dont give up because beuracracy has too many people who just don't care.

Also, I must use the Anacostia station to get to/from work everyday. I am one of the about 5% white passengers which pass through that station. Definitely not a safe place to be. Although I have not witnessed a crime, I too have seen groups of roudy teenage girls (and often boys with them) yelling and singing and running around.
My girlfriend however has been innappropriately approached by guys repeatedly at the station. She now refuses to ever use the station again unless I am with her.

10 December, 2005 20:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One suggestion is to not complain to Metro because they don't have a reason to help you. Instead, complain to Congress. Metro's funding, I believe, comes from Congress, and in any case Metro will jump if the Feds get involved. I've seen it happen.

I witnessed a similar situation occur several years ago: theft on the Metro and Metro station manager was was useless and actively enabled the thief, allowing him to walk out of the station without paying while we waited on a police officer to arrive.

Fortunately, the victim in this case (who I stayed in touch with for several days) had a roommate who worked on a Congress member's staff, and that member (the name escapes me now) had the ability to raise the pain level on Metro quite effectively.

I received multiple phone calls over the following days, as this case received a lot of attention from high-level Metro officials fearful of Congress. One even told me that he was investigating because this case had come down from "on-high" and something had to be done.

All politics is local, right?

12 December, 2005 13:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

think it's sad that it happened. sad that race needed to be mentioned by other commenters, and just sad that no one can feel safe in the nation's capitol that I grew up in. Just SAD!!!

09 March, 2006 14:07  
Anonymous Joanna said...

I'm reading this post a year later...Did anything ever come of this?

14 November, 2006 14:06  
Anonymous Dino said...

i didnt read all the comments yet, so my thoughts may be an echo of what was already said.

i am sorry for this woman's experience. i am NOT surprised that Metro's actions made it worse.

i am ANGRY that w/ 20 other people around her, she was not able to recover her property. TWENTY other people. a little "mob rules" mentality would go a long way to protect the victims. it seems the criminals out there, at any age, have already realized that.

14 November, 2006 15:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's a year later, but I did not even become aware of this incident until today on another site. I am both outraged and sorry for your expereince. I sincerely hope you have regained your confidence and composure not only to travel on the rails again, but to also navigate through the city. even though this happened within the confines of the Metro system, this can occur anywhere and can seriously damage one's self esteem and view of the world at large. I also hope this does not happen to anyone else.

I will say for the record that if I see this happen or if it happens to me I WILL defend myself or another person against these ghetto PUNKS and I would not be surprised if Metro tried to prosecute me. I don't know what's more reprehensible..your getting mugged or the fact that Metro literally stood still and did nothing and provided the avenue of escape for these thugs.

As far as I'm concerned, most Metro employees are lazy,useless, incompetent and overpaid slouches. The transit police, while there are some good officers, are hardly visible on the trains or stations and teenagers and even some "adults" are allowed free reign to do whatever they want in the stations and the rail cars. We are sick of it and it's time for the passengers to stand up and not take this crap anymore.

14 November, 2006 15:30  
Blogger SkypeTraveler said...

If you registered your iPod with Apple, you can report it as stolen. Then if the serial number pops up when someone tries to use it on their computer, Apple will be alerted.

14 November, 2006 19:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, you didn't show much common sense by having your ipod and your metro card out in plain view. And why is it metro's job to warn you about crime? I'm a regular rider and I have to say, this kind of stuff happens. It's not right, but it does. So protect your things and yourself - don't leave stuff out, and for God's sake don't let people snatch things out of your hand. You're an adult. My kids know better than to leave money or their mp3 players out in plain view.

14 November, 2006 19:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Solution to problem of theft/threat of violence on the subway.

Put your IPod in your pocket.

Take out your cell phone.

Snap a shot of the malefactor.

Dial the police and send the snap.

Announce at full voice what you did.

Watch 'em squirm!

14 November, 2006 20:26  
Blogger Tom said...

Wow, I never thought I'd be thankful to live in Detroit, where crime is bad but at least nobody is vulnerable in public transportation (since we don't have any).

14 November, 2006 21:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give me a break, folks. Gangs, and violence are the product of economics, not race. More black and latino people living in poverty = more black and latino people engaged in crime. It's ironic that you criticize the thieves for pulling the "race card" when you yourself have done the same thing. The reality is that black people aren't automatically the victims, but white people aren't either. I don't advocate crime, but I don't advocate sweeping generalizations either.

15 November, 2006 09:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the poster before me..

So you are justifying their behavior by blaming it on economics? Just because one is poor or economically disadvantaged, does that give them the right to terrorize people on the Metro? I know a few people who grew up poor, but instead WORKED and did not steal and rob from others. It's time for these low class blacks, who by the way commit the majority of violent crimes in this country, to stop blaming their pathetic existence on the white man and instead look inward. Then again, that may be asking too much.

15 November, 2006 12:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep re-reading my post, and nowhere does it say that there is a justification for thievery and violence. My post also doesn't say that every poor person is a criminal, or that the rich don't commit criminal behavior. What is does say is that criminal tendencies are the product of environment, not skin color. Read more closely next time, hmmm?

15 November, 2006 13:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know today's teenagers have definitely gotten scarier, but who actually walks around DC with their Ipod on display? I am a law student who regularly totes a laptop to school. I always keep it in a nondescript backpack (not a laptop case) and I NEVER take it out on Metro. However, I'm always amazed at the "multi-taskers" who take their laptops out get to work on Metro. It's a shame that you can't display anything remotely expensive in public, but unfortunately that's the world we live in.

15 November, 2006 16:45  

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