NEWS RELEASE: 2012 reported crime statistics

Posted in TriMet News

Most reported crimes on TriMet system last year drop or remain flat except for incidents targeting riders’ belongings

Part 1 crimes 2012 2011 Change
Homicide 0 0 n/a
Assault – aggravated 21 28 -7
Forcible rape 1 3 -2
Robbery 98 56 +42
Burglary 0 0 n/a
Larceny/Theft 364 347 +17
Motor vehicle theft 92 59 +33
Arson 2 3 -1
*2012 boarding rides: 101,691,910
*2011 boarding rides: 101,023,460

TriMet’s reported crime statistics showed 578 Part 1 crimes systemwide for nearly 102 million trips taken on the system in 2012, an increase led by incidents targeting people’s belongings rather than physical crimes against a person. Despite that change, the number of incidents on the TriMet system remained at less than 2 a day.

TriMet’s Transit Police Division (TPD) and our Executive Director of Safety and Security have been tracking crime trends and responding, often with positive results.

“We are already seeing about an 11 percent drop in crime for the first quarter of 2013 thanks to the work of our Transit Police and security staff,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “We will continue to look for additional ways to help keep our transit system safe for our riders and employees.”

Part 1 crimes – All modes – 2011, 2012 comparison

Smartphone robberies/thefts
Smartphones robberies and thefts jumped in 2012, a trend transit agencies and cities across the nation have experienced. After seeing a sharp increase in smartphone snatches, TPD officers conducted an extensive investigation. They scoured TriMet security camera video, conducted surveillance and tracked down a group of individuals behind most of the incidents. Recently those TPD officers were honored for their work, which led to a major drop in the incidents, from a high of 19 smartphone robberies in May 2012 to just 1 in April 2013.

Motor vehicle thefts

Highest incidents of auto theft
Locations 2012 2011 Change
Gresham City Hall 8 1 +7
Gateway TC 23 11 +12
Parkrose TC 9 8 +1
Sunset TC 5 1 +4

Matching local trends, motor vehicle thefts from TriMet park and rides increased from 59 in 2011 to 92 in 2012. TPD officers have been conducting patrols and TriMet personnel have increased presence at several parking lots in an attempt to deter the auto thieves. While the thefts decreased in December 2012, combating the crime continues to be a challenge, with the thieves going after older Hondas and Toyotas as is consistent with statewide theft statistics by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Along with concentrated TPD missions, we’ve placed banners at popular park and rides to remind drivers to lock their cars and keep valuables out of sight. Messages are also going out via our marketing, social media and rider channels.

The increases in smartphone robberies and thefts as well as auto thefts are consistent with increases in those crimes in the City of Portland in 2012.

MAX security
TriMet’s Executive Director of Safety and Security, Harry Saporta, presented his annual review of reported crimes within the MAX system to the TriMet Board of Directors Wednesday.

TPD and TriMet security staffs monitor hotspots on the MAX system and respond accordingly. In 2012, more than half of the reported incidents occurred on trains and in transit centers from downtown Portland through East 162nd Avenue.

“By taking a look at where the incidents are occurring, we can better focus targeted efforts with fellow law enforcement partners that increase safety not only on TriMet but throughout our community,” said Saporta.

In addition to location, the details in crime reports give added insight into what can be done to help reduce incidents on the MAX.

“As we dig deeper into the data, such as into reports of thefts, we’re finding much of the incidents are preventable, so we are encouraging our riders to be alert and proactive,” said Saporta.

Of the 364 thefts reported on or near the MAX system in 2012, 61 or 17 percent were items that people reported as lost or left behind and were never recovered, among those – phones, purses, wallets and even bikes.

“Do not leave your backpack sitting on a bench and walk away; do not place your bike on a bike hook and then turn your back or fall asleep; doing that invites theft,” said Transit Police Division Commander Mike Crebs. “The majority of thefts are crimes of opportunity, so please pay attention to your belongings and keep them close by.”

MAX/WES 2012 crime statistics

MAX/WES 2011-2012 crime comparison by location

Stolen or lost?
Items reported stolen may actually have just been lost. In 2012, more than 26,000 items came into TriMet’s Lost and Found. Only 5,445 or 20 percent were claimed by their owner.

The top five items found were:

  1. Phones/electronic devices – 2,820
  2. Wallets – 2,379
  3. Umbrellas – 2,021
  4. Bags – 1,671
  5. Identification – 1,529

TriMet staff will attempt to get your belongings back to you if they come across contact information on an item. For smartphones, consider tucking a slip with contact information into the case or writing it on the phone’s battery.

If you do lose an item, call 503-962-7655. The line is monitored Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but messages can be left 24 hours a day. You can also fill out the Lost & Found form on trimet.org. List contact information and details about the item, where it was lost and when.