SEPTA announces 45% decrease in serious crimes for 2024, plans for double-decker cars scrapped

SEPTA announced a 45% decrease in serious crimes on the system during the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

The decreases include significant drops in aggravated assaults – from 32 to 24 – and robberies – from 102 to 34.

“We are pleased to see that incidents of violent crime have been consistently down across the system over the last year,” SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie S. Richards said. “We are providing about 700,000 passenger trips per day, and while serious crimes are extremely rare, we want all of our customers and employees to feel safe when they are traveling on SEPTA.”

Transit Police are continuing to increase visible patrols across the system – more officers are being strategically deployed on trains, trolleys, and buses, SEPTA said in a statement.

Transit Police have gone from 196 sworn officers at the end of 2022 to 230 sworn officers at the end of last month, which is the highest number in years. Thanks to salary adjustments for police, the Authority is attracting interest from officers with other departments.

“While we still have challenges, I am encouraged by our progress,” said SEPTA Transit Police Chief Charles Lawson. “We have stepped up enforcement of quality-of-life offenses, including fare evasion, drug use, and smoking, which are often the subject of customer complaints and can be associated with more serious offenses.”

Transit Police reported more than 47,000 code of conduct violations in the first quarter of this year – up from approximately 35,000 a year ago.

Within the last year, SEPTA launched a new Virtual Patrol Unit – largely staffed by retired law enforcement professionals – to monitor live video feeds and dispatch officers where they are needed. This initiative is maximizing the use of the 30,000 security cameras that are located at stations and on all buses, trains, and trolleys.

SEPTA customers and employees are continuing to use the Transit Watch app to easily and discretely report suspicious activity to police.

While overall crime on SEPTA is down, the Authority reported three homicides in the first quarter.

In related news, SEPTA, which ordered 45 double-decker coaches in 2017, has scrapped their plans to add the cars to its Regional Rail lines, Patch reported.

“SEPTA has terminated its contract with CRRC MA for cause,” SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch told Patch in a statement Tuesday. “The Authority is assessing its options for recouping funds that have been spent on the project.”

For a 2025 budget statement on behalf of SEPTA, which was released on Tuesday, April 16, you can click here.

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