(Washington Examiner) — More Metro riders got mugged, pickpocketed, assaulted and even raped last year during the worst crime spike to hit the transit system in at least the past six years. Overall, 2,279 serious crimes were reported throughout the agency in 2010, according to Metro statistics. That’s 79 percent more crimes than the 1,274 investigated in 2005.
Riders were most likely to have their belongings stolen — and the likelihood keeps growing even as ridership has faltered in the past year. The agency investigated 1,007 robberies in 2010, up from 894 cases in 2009 and just 349 in 2005. Metro blames the rise on the increasing popularity of smartphones and other pricey electronic devices, which are getting snatched out of riders’ hands in three of every four robberies. But beyond such thefts, brutal attacks also have increased. Seven rapes and sexual assaults occurred in the Metro system in 2010, according to the statistics, more than all the cases in the previous five years combined.