MARTA officials on Wednesday made a case for the safety of the transit system, touting an overall decrease in crime even after an unusual spate of homicides.
CEO Keith Parker sang the praises of MARTA’s police department, which has overseen the installation of some 10,000 cameras and the suspension of as many riders.
He said it’s all part of sending a message: “If you commit a crime on MARTA, you’re going to be caught.”
Parker and other officials presented media with crime statistics at MARTA headquarters Wednesday in hopes of clarifying the safety of the system. Questions had naturally come up earlier this year after it came to light that MARTA police had worked four homicides this fiscal year, after at least four years without one.
“Any crime on MARTA is too much crime,” the system’s board chair, Robbie Ashe, said. “But it is our hope today that we put some of the incidents that have happened in the proper perspective.”
MARTA police chief Wanda Dunham pointed out that arrests had been made in all four of the recent homicides, and that other violent crime is down.
Overall, she said, MARTA has seen a 27 percent decline in Part 1 crimes (a class that includes high-level crimes such as murders, rapes and assaults) in the past five years.
“We do think that MARTA is a safe system,” Dunham said, calling it among the safest in the country.