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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

Rise in transit crime sparks concern from House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

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In a recent letter to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Republicans from the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recently pressed for details on the federal response to and mitigation of safety threats to transit passengers nationwide.

Their query based itself largely on details from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which determined that between 2020 and 2022, homicides on U.S. urban transit systems increased 61 percent, assaults by 70 percent, and other crimes by 34 percent.

“At a time when criminal activity on transit systems and in transit facilities is rising, it is vital that FTA provide appropriate safety and security measures and direction to counter this dangerous trend,” the committee members wrote to FTA Acting Administrator Veronica Venterpool. “Accordingly, we seek information about FTA’s actions taken in response to this rise in crime on transit systems and plans to ensure the safety of transit riders and workers.”

The lawmakers also turned to news reports nationwide, noting incidents over the past six months in Los Angeles, Denver, Houston, and Washington, DC, all of which involved transit vehicles or transit stations. Led by T&I Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) and Highways and Transit Subcommittee Chairman Rick Crawford (R-AR), and together with a dozen other members, the group of lawmakers labeled the threats unacceptable, and pressed for details on data collection and assessment tools for measuring violent crime and where funding is going.

Further, they asked for details of any programming changes, document development, new recommendations or guidance reassessments to respond to these criminal activities by the FTA.

“We strongly encourage FTA to consider all available necessary and applicable actions that may be taken to aid local transit agencies in improving safety and security practices and mitigation operations,” the lawmakers wrote.