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Metro crime teams are catching crooks in the act

Monday - 6/11/2012, 12:57pm  ET

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Anacostia, Benning Road, Rhode Island Avenue and L'Enfant Plaza are the top four high crime stations system-wide. (Courtesy WMATA)

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Crime is trending the wrong way on Metro trains and buses, but Metro may actually want it that way.

According to Metro documents, Part I Crime, which includes offenses like assault and robbery, is up over 30 percent, comparing the first three months of this year with the first three months of last year.

Metro attributes much of the spike to so-called Crime Suppression Teams, or CST, that set traps for crooks using decoys and then arrest criminals on the spot. For example, Metro documents show that there were 96 pickpocket cases over the first three months of the year, but 70 of those cases resulted in direct arrests because of CST tactics.

"We've said all along that by using CST tactics, you'd see an artificial increase in raw numbers, but there'd be a corresponding increase in cases closed by arrest," says Metro Chief Spokesperson Dan Stessel.

That doesn't change the fact, however, that the actual crime itself is being committed. As far as where crime is happening the most, nine of the top 10 high crime stations are in D.C.

Anacostia, Benning Road, Rhode Island Avenue and L'Enfant Plaza are the top four high crime stations system-wide. You have to go down to number eight on the list, West Hyattsville, to find the highest crime station in Maryland. The highest crime station in Virginia is Franconia-Springfield, registering as number 11 overall.

There has been a nearly 50 percent drop in crime in Metro parking lots comparing the first three months of this year with the same period last year.

A variety of tactics in parking lots such as targeted deployments, bicycle patrols and officers in towers are credited for the drop.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)