Crime down on MARTA trains, buses - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Crime down on MARTA trains, buses

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

Do you feel safe on MARTA? More than 415,000 passengers use MARTA each day and officers say crime is down. According to their reports, felony crimes during this fiscal year are down about 10 percent from the year before.

In the last ten years, grants and funding from the Department of Homeland Security have seriously upgraded safety on MARTA. From cameras and K-9 officers to smart phone apps, it's clear they're stepping up their focus to try and keep you safe.

At any MARTA station, you're likely to see patrolling MARTA police officers. At Edgewood, Diamond Moseley rides MARTA every day, "Do you feel pretty safe?" Katie asks. "So far, so good; I haven't had any bad experiences. I feel safe and I don't have a problem taking MARTA to and from where I've got to go, so I think they're doing a good job with that."

And reports show, crime is down over the last fiscal year. The largest decrease is in robbery and aggravated assault related crimes.

"I think MARTA is one of the safest transportation systems in the country," believes MARTA Emergency Preparedness Sgt. Aston Greene.

Transit security grants have helped to upgrade security with K-9 officers and surveillance cameras. "In the last ten years, that kind of funding has helped to create the layers of security that we enjoy now," explains Sgt. Greene.

With eight cameras inside the buses and three more outside them, there really are eyes everywhere and more cameras are coming for MARTA trains. By this time next year, MARTA expects to have 20,000 cameras system wide, adding to other safety campaigns promoted by MARTA.

"Our loyal customers know MARTA very well and I think they like the kinds of things like the 'Ride with Respect' campaign which seeks to eliminate nuisance behavior from our transit system and make your transit experience even more comfortable," adds Sgt. Greene.

Another campaign is the 'See Something, Say Something' app that connects riders directly with transit police. "You can actually take a picture, you can send a text and that goes right to a live person who can communicate with you and before you get to your next stop, you'll actually see the results," says Sgt. Aston Greene.

"I use it to basically track the time and distance of where I have to go-- and it's very useful," adds Diamond.

MARTA also has a bus marshal program, a lot like air marshals, where an officer will be riding the bus undercover. Just this week they held their first ever CERT graduation, a group of trained and informed volunteer customers that now can act in the case of an emergency.

Sgt. Greene says there's a lot of emphasis put on training and full scale exercises each year. He says, they don't want to just wait for something to happen, they'd rather think about the worst case scenario and have a plan already in place.

And speaking of MARTA, a new app we introduced you to last year, is finally up and running. Students and faculty at Georgia Tech have launched the "One Bus Away" smartphone app. They say studies show MARTA ridership is down, because of inconsistencies with wait times.

"One Bus Away" uses live information, pulled from MARTA, to map out your trip and tell you how long you should plan to wait. The app was first designed in Seattle and hopes to take the guesswork out of riding the bus. Designers also say knowing exactly what time to expect the bus, makes riders feel safer.

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