Image Courtesy of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
By Anna Harvey
In Admission tours and in promotional materials throughout the years, Catholic University has continually expressed pride in its centralized location in Washington. D.C. Admissions tours frequently assure potential students and their families of the school’s close proximity to the Brookland-CUA Metro stop, granting students access to many opportunities throughout D.C.
While the Metro serves as an essential means of transportation for students—particularly for commuter students and students with internships—students throughout the years complained of difficulties riding the metro, either due to personal safety concerns or construction delays.
“I honestly avoid the metro, especially if I am alone,” junior psychology major Kendall Mullen said. “I do not feel safe riding alone.”
According to the monthly Metro Crime Report from October, violence upon Metro property has increased from 2021 to 2022. The report states that in 2021, 568 Part 1 and 2,690 Part 2 crimes occurred on Metro property, as opposed to 763 Part 1 and 2,904 Part 2 crimes throughout 2022 through the month of October. While the report does not categorize specific crimes by their location, it does state that of 763 Part 1 crimes were committed on Metro property, and 532 occurred on Metro rails throughout 2022. In spite of the recent rise, however, according to a WTOP article, the average number of crimes per month has dropped to around 51 per month, nearing pre-pandemic levels of violence.
A common concern among students riding the Metro is safety at night.
“I use the metro pretty often and almost always feel safe. I avoid traveling alone and at night if possible,” junior business major Brennan Stone said.
On Friday, November 4, 2022, Tower reporter Anna Harvey observed over 20 Metro police officers posted by the gates at the Brookland-CUA, who were stationed to prevent people from jumping over the gates. In the month of October, according to the Metro Monthly Crime Report, 37 out of a total of 327 Part 2 crimes were related to fare evasion.
Over the course of October and November of 2022, Metro additionally increased advertising to alert riders of an increased police presence in metro stops around the DMV. In addition to increased police forces, Metro plans to enlist the help of mental health specialists to assist Metro Transit police, particularly in scenarios of de-escalation. In a press release from September 21, 2022, Metro stated that following the pandemic, Metro Transit police witnessed a 40 percent increase in people in need of mental health assistance.
“We’ve been listening to customers over the past two months, and it’s clear that a better, safer customer experience is paramount to rebuilding ridership and customer trust,” said GM and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke in a public statement. “The steps we are taking are part of a larger framework that enhances the work MTPD is already implementing to improve Metro daily.”
With the increased presence of Metro Transit police, students report feeling less concerned.
“The increase in officers being present on the metro would personally ease my stress fear,” Mullen said.
“I am in support of an increased police presence,” Stone said. “You can never be too safe in my opinion.”
“I used to be a lot more concerned riding the metro for work,” said junior world politics major Alex Harvey, “but having more uniformed personnel present has made me feel a lot safer.”