Transit riders in Washington, D.C., can expect an increased police presence on trains and buses as officials work to deter rising crime rates on public transportation.

Officials will increase the number of uniformed and plainclothes officers at some Metro train stations and on buses throughout the district amid a nationwide push to increase ridership while ensuring safety as crime rates rise, according to a strategy announced by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority on Thursday.

“While crime is a community and regional concern, customers should feel safe on Metro, and that means using every tool at our disposal including investing in the community and partnering with local resources for essential services,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in a statement. “In addition, [the Metro Transit Police Department] is strategically targeting enforcement efforts in areas where crime has increased.”

Officers will have their shifts staggered throughout the day to ensure a stronger police presence during rush-hour commutes, according to the plan. It’s not entirely clear whether the policy changes how law enforcement approaches threats, but the stated goal of the strategy is to provide a more visible police force to prevent people from committing crimes.


The increase in police presence is part of a larger strategy that seeks to reassure rider safety and provide community outreach. Safety measures include adding QR codes that riders can scan to call the transit police tip line, and WMATA will also partner with organizations to assist people who are experiencing homelessness and mental health crises.

“Chief [Michael] Anzallo looks at all crimes being committed across our system and has made a commitment to address the root causes of crime and disorder to building trust and legitimacy through outreach, education, and transparency,” WMATA spokeswoman Kristie Swink Benson said. ”We want our customers and employees to know offenders will be held accountable.”

Determining whether there’s been a rise in crime on public transit has been more difficult over the last few years as ridership dropped amid the pandemic and remote work.


Rates of serious crime on Metro trains overall have decreased 36% during the first four months of 2022 compared to the same time frame last year, according to officials. However, reports of aggravated assaults doubled between April 2021 and April 2022, and thefts also saw a slight increase in the same time period, according to WMATA data. Even with the overall decline, it still hovers above the reported crime rates that occurred pre-pandemic.