StopWatch quells student crime in time

The StopWatch program makes Transit Police more visible at stations where teens hang out.

School is back in session, and the MBTA Transit Police is working with other law enforcement and local youth groups to ensure students are staying in line.

A joint effort involving T police, the Boston schools and probation officers has led to improved adolescent behavior on buses and trains, according to officials.

Dubbed StopWatch, the collaborative uses officer and community member presence as a preventive measure to put an end to crime before it occurs.

“We go to various train stations and locations that have been identified through crime analysts as stations with the most potential for student disruptive behavior or rowdiness,” said MBTA Transit Police Lt. Detective Mark Gillespie.

Gillespie said officers aren’t looking to make arrests: They’re trying to put a cork in potential crime before catastrophe occurs.

“We go for the root causes,” he said.

Officers yesterday reportedly stop­ped a student carrying a knife at Forest Hills.

Suffolk Juvenile Chief Probation Officer Steven Siciliano said there are anywhere from three to five probation officers from his office out with T police each scheduled day.

“Just being visible helps. You can only prevent so much, but if you can prevent it that one time, maybe [students] will pick and choose their moments,” said Siciliano.

Siciliano said they gather information about a fight that may be at a certain stop and hope they “squash and quell some of the problems that might happen.”

Follow Steve Annear on Twitter @steveannear.


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