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TriMet Report: Majority Of Transit Crimes Occur On Rail System

A new report from TriMet says there were 1,247 alleged crimes reported out of nearly 99 million rides taken on the transit system in 2016.

The Portland area transit agency released its annual crime report Wednesday morning.

Offenses reported fall into three categories: crimes against persons, crimes against property and crimes against society. The majority of offenses — more than half of those reported — were committed against property. That includes situations where a rider may have left an item on a train and not been able to retrieve it later.

Forty-seven percent of the total offenses occurred on the rail system.

The MAX train passes by Pioneer Courthouse in downtown Portland. Nearly half of crimes committed on TriMet occur on rail, according to a new report.

The MAX train passes by Pioneer Courthouse in downtown Portland. Nearly half of crimes committed on TriMet occur on rail, according to a new report.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

Gateway Transit Center had the highest concentration of reported possible crimes, with 36 offenses occurring at the east Portland station.

Other areas with high rates of reported incidents include the three stops between Beaverton Transit Center and Washington Park, where 54 offenses occurred, and four stops between the Rose Quarter and Lloyd Center, where 65 offenses occurred.

One area of concern for TriMet in the past year has been crimes against its employees. In 2016, 62 crimes were committed against TriMet employees, including operators, supervisors and fare enforcement staff. Five of these incidents occurred on bus line 72. Unlike previous years, however, those numbers do not include crimes committed against transit police officers.

“We have trained all of our bus operators and supervisors in assault prevention and awareness. We believe that de-escalating situations is the most effective tool to avoid assaults,” said Harry Saporta, the executive director of safety and security for TriMet.

Saporta also said TriMet is looking into protective barriers for its operators, utilized in cities like New York and Los Angeles.

TriMet changed the way it calculates offenses this year in accordance with the FBI. Under the National Incident-Based Reporting System, one offense is recorded per victim of each offense type that occurred within an incident.

Previously, only the highest offense within a single incident was counted. This means that statistics from 2016 are not comparable with numbers from previous years.

Still, TriMet’s security division believes there was no increase in crime between 2015 and 2016.

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