Aggravated assaults on the MBTA up by 22 percent despite a decrease in other crimes

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

Serious crimes like murder, rape and robbery were down by 11 percent in the MBTA in 2012, according to the a report released yesterday by the transit agency.

Despite the good news, the report also shows that aggravated assault, which is considered a serious crime, was up by 22 percent – from 124 in 2011 to 151 in 2012, accounting for 15 percent of all serious crime reports last year.

An analysis of the assaults did not reveal any pattern or trend, and most were due to passenger disputes that escalated into assaults, according to Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan.

Two-thirds of all serious crime on the MBTA involved non-violent property theft, and according to a spokesman for the T, the decrease in violent crime was attributed primarily to a 22 percent drop in robberies.

Bicycle thefts accounted for one-third of all larcenies, MacMillan said.

“While we have had success in decreasing overall theft, bicycles theft continues to be a concern for us,” MacMillan said in a statement. “We continue to conduct awareness campaigns and the MBTA continues to construct pedal and park areas to better secure bicycles. As more and more bicycles are used by our passengers, we will continue to focus on this issue.”

Transit Police did not give any indications as to why aggravated assaults were up by nearly a quarter despite a decrease in other violent crimes.

Here are a breakdown of the 2012 crime numbers:

2011 assault – 124 (11% of serious crimes)
2012 assault – 151 (15% of serious crimes)

2011 rape – 1 (0% of serious crimes)
2012 rape – 2 (0% of serious crimes)

2011 robbery – 222 (19% of serious crimes)
2012 robbery – 174 (17% of serious crimes)

2011 larceny – 770 (66% of serious crimes)
2012 larceny – 673 (65% of serious crimes)

2011 homicide – 1 (0% of serious crimes)
2012 homicide – 0 (0% of serious crimes)


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