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Baltimore looking to cut juvenile crime on city transportation

Now that school has been back in session for a few months, most of us are accustomed to the sight of children walking to school, waiting at bus stops or even riding the Maryland Transit Administration’s Metro cars, MARC trains, light rail and, of course, buses.

What people living in Baltimore might not realize, however, is that the city’s school system currently pays upwards of $6 million to the MTA every year to grant passes to roughly 34,000 high school and middle school students living more than a mile and a half from their school.

While this partnership between the school system and the MTA makes sense given the city’s extensive transportation infrastructure, it appears as if some problems related to juvenile crime have arisen.       

Specifically, statistics show that while overall crime has dropped on MTA buses, Metro cars and light rail while remaining statics on MARC trains, there have been more issues with juveniles committing what are classified as Part I crimes such as theft, assault and robbery.

Indeed, these numbers show that juveniles comprised 70 percent of all arrests for Part I crimes on buses in 2013, while juveniles have comprised the majority of all arrests for Part I crimes on buses in 2014.

While this is certainly somewhat alarming, MTA officials have indicated that not only are such incidents few and far between — through August there were 165 reported incidents out of an estimated 65 million riders — but that there are intervention measures in place to help reduce the juvenile crime rate. These include everything from increased surveillance and police patrols on problem routes to public campaigns addressed to students about proper bus conduct.

Here’s hoping these efforts prove successful and that we continue to see crime rates drop on MTA routes.

In our next post, we’ll take a closer look at what young people here in Maryland can expect if they are charged with any sort of felony or misdemeanor.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Juveniles driving crime on Baltimore transit systems despite intervention efforts,” Kevin Rector, Oct. 17, 2014  

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