Undercover Ops Source of Most West Hyattsville Metro Crime
All but two of the reported crimes at West Hyattsville Metro in the first part of 2012 were the result of police sting operations.
Earlier this week, we told you about how the West Hyattsville Metro Station was the most crime-ridden Metro station in Maryland in the first quarter of 2012. Now, officially, it turns out that the vast majority of that crime was victimless.
According to Phillip Stewart, public information officer for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 11 of the 13 reported crimes in the first quarter of 2012 were the direct result of work by Metro's Crime Suppression Team.
"In other words, 11 of the 'victims' were MTPD undercover officers," wrote Stewart in an email. "The statistics from this particular station underscore the fact that if you rob someone on Metro, it's highly likely to be a cop rather than a customer."
The crime suppression team operates in plain clothes throughout the Metro system, according to Stewart, using a variety of tactics to catch unsuspecting criminals red handed. For example, as shown in this video, an officer might lay down on a Metro platform and pose as a passed out drunkard with a fancy gadget like a tablet computer or a smart phone. If a passerby tries to relieve the "drunk" of his tech, police spring the trap.
Sometimes, though, the crime suppression teams lure good Samaritans.
"In some of these incidents, riders have come to try and help someone that they thought was a victim or a would be victim," said Stewart, recalling a time when he went out with a crime suppression team where an undercover officer posing as a drunk was asked by a passenger if he needed assistance. "It restores our confidence to see that, but we laugh about how we're also trying to catch criminals."
UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. -
Stewart writes this morning with some concern that his quote in the preceeding paragraph might be misconstrued.
"We were simply talking about how seeing others come to the aid of someone who may be in trouble is a nice reminder that many riders look out for each others safety in such situations," wrote Stewart in an email to Patch.