A review of crime and police activity on the Metro in the first quarter of 2012 listed West Hyattsville as one of the most crime ridden stations in the system during that time. Ranked eighth out of 69 stations, West Hyattsville has listed as the most crime prone Metro station in Maryland.
During that time, 13 property crimes were reported at West Hyattsville, but police made arrests in nine of those instances, plus another two arrests on warrants and driving on a suspended license.
Dan Stessel, Metro spokesperson, discourages getting caught up in ranking comparisons.
"Some stations would not be in a top-10 or top-20 list but for the fact that there was (Metro Transit Police Department Crime Suppression Team) CST activity," he said in an email to Patch on Monday. There are many variables that determine a crime rate for a station, he stated.
CST officers are all over the system, according to Stessel. They hang out in Metro stations with pricey high technology devices, like iPads. If a snatcher moves in, the officer arrests him or her on the spot, Stessel explained.
Decoys pretend to be passed out on benches... and wait, he reported. They also hold bike-bait operations. The attached video shows an officer decoy feigning unconsciousness on a station floor as trains pass by—that is until he arrests the woman who snatches his iPhone.
"In all of those cases it results in an immediate arrest," Stessel said.
He pointed to Anacostia Metro Station as an example. It ranks first in Part I crimes system-wide in the first quarter, with 31 violent and property crimes, according to Metro's report. But Anacostia is artificially high because of CST arrests, according to Stessel.
System-wide, Metro's report shows 498 Part I crimes in the first quarter, an increase of 81 from 2011. One hundred and forty-seven of the 498, however, involved CST officers, according to the report. They were self-induced, Stessel said..
And if you look at the actual crimes committed against customers not officers, the number is 351, according to Stessel. CST did not exist in the first quarter of 2011, and now it is playing a part.
"What would look like large increases are actually the result of our undercover decoy operations," Stessel said.