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Crime in Metro parking lots hits record low

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Local,Transportation,Crime,Liz Essley,Metro,Metro and Traffic

Metro's latest crime statistics contained good news for those who park their cars in Metro's garages.

Crime in Metro's parking facilities hit a record low in the first three months of 2013, down 79 percent since 2010, with thieves stealing 64 percent fewer cars, 76 percent fewer objects inside cars and 90 percent fewer parts from cars.

"The greatest success in our crime reduction strategies has been the sustained, incremental improvement in parking lot crimes," officials said in a report prepared for Metro's board.

Metro had 37 crimes in parking facilities in the first three months of 2013, compared with 63 a year earlier. Metro's parking facility crime rate was less than one crime per million riders for January through March.

Metro has made a special effort to reduce parking lot crime in the last few years. Employees patrol garages in utility vehicles, monitor lots from observation towers and track down and arrest people suspected of stealing multiple cars. The agency is also spending millions to put about 4,000 new cameras in its parking facilities and rail stations to watch out for crime and security threats. And last year the agency provided SmarTrip cards to police departments of neighboring jurisdictions to allow them to enter Metro's lots easily to patrol for thieves.

The drop in parking lot crime drove an overall decline in crime on the transit system over the same period last year, from 7.03 serious crimes per million riders to 5.74. Metro saw 401 crimes in January, February and March, meaning it's on target to meet its goal of fewer than 2,000 crimes for the year, according to the report. - Liz Essley

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