SEPTA Reports 45% Year-Over-Year Decrease in Serious Crimes on the System

SEPTA Reports 45% Year-Over-Year Decrease in Serious Crimes on the System

First Quarter Report Shows Significant Progress with Assaults, Robberies & Other Incidents

PHILADELPHIA (April 12, 2024) – SEPTA had a 45% decrease in serious crimes on the system during the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023, according to the First Quarter 2024 Report released today by the SEPTA Transit Police Department. The decreases include significant drops in aggravated assaults – from 32 to 24 – and robberies – from 102 to 34.

“We are pleased to see that incidents of violent crime have been consistently down across the system over the last year,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards. “We are providing about 700,000 passenger trips per day, and while serious crimes are extremely rare, we want all of our customers and employees to feel safe when they are traveling on SEPTA.”

Transit Police are continuing to increase visible patrols across the system – more officers are being strategically deployed on trains, trolleys, and buses. Increasing the police presence on vehicles allows officers to engage with more riders and enhance the perception of safety on SEPTA.

Recruitment and retention efforts by Transit Police have resulted in sustained growth over four straight quarters – from 196 sworn officers at the end of 2022 to 230 sworn officers at the end of last month, which is the highest number in years.

Thanks to salary adjustments for police, the Authority is attracting interest from officers with other departments. SEPTA will continue to hire more officers and go over the budgeted headcount to bolster its police force.

“While we still have challenges, I am encouraged by our progress,” said SEPTA Transit Police Chief Charles Lawson. “We have stepped up enforcement of quality-of-life offenses, including fare evasion, drug use, and smoking, which are often the subject of customer complaints and can be associated with more serious offenses.”

Transit Police reported more than 47,000 code of conduct violations in the first quarter of this year – up from approximately 35,000 a year ago.

Earlier this month, SEPTA unveiled new full-length fare gates at 69th Street Transportation Center to combat fare evasion, which costs the Authority approximately $30 to $40 million in annual revenue and can be a precursor to other violations.

Within the last year, SEPTA launched a new Virtual Patrol Unit – largely staffed by retired law enforcement professionals – to monitor live video feeds and dispatch officers where they are needed. This initiative is maximizing the use of the 30,000 security cameras that are located at stations and on all buses, trains, and trolleys.

SEPTA customers and employees are continuing to use the Transit Watch app to easily and discretely report suspicious activity to police.

While overall crime on SEPTA is down, the Authority reported three homicides in the first quarter. The same gun violence that is plaguing the communities SEPTA serves is spilling over into the system. SEPTA remains committed to combating gun violence, and Transit Police are targeting illegal gun possession.

To read the full First Quarter 2024 Report, click here. SEPTA will continue to provide updates online.

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