Greenbelt ranks 7th highest in Metro's report for serious crimes, out of 20 Maryland Metro stations—and 21st out of 61 Metro stations system-wide, according to a report released Monday by Metro.
For the first quarter of 2012—running from Jan. 1 through March 31—Metro reports eight Part I crimes at Greenbelt Metro Station, which are serious crimes as defined by Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports.
Under the FBI's reporting system, serious crimes include aggravated assault, forcible rape, murder, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft.
But Dan Stessel, Metro spokesperson, discourages getting caught up in ranking comparisons.
"Some stations would not be in a top-10 or top-20 list but for the fact that there was (Metro Transit Police Department Crime Suppression Team) CST activity," he said in an email follow up to his Patch interview on Monday. There are many variables that determine a crime rate for a station, he stated.
CST officers are all over the system, according to Stessel, including in Greenbelt. They hang out in Metro stations with high technology devices, like iPads—waiting. If a snatcher moves in, the officer arrests him or her on the spot, Stessel explained.
Decoys pretend to be passed out on benches... and wait, he reported. They also hold bike-bait operations. The attached video shows an officer decoy feigning unconsciousness on a station floor as trains pass by—that is until he arrests the woman who snatches his iPhone.
"In all of those cases it results in an immediate arrest," Stessel said.
He pointed to Anacostia Metro Station as an example. It ranks first in Part I crimes system-wide in the first quarter, with 31 violent and property crimes, according to Metro's report. But Anacostia is artificially high because of CST arrests, according to Stessel.
System-wide, Metro's report shows 498 Part I crimes in the first quarter, an increase of 81 from 2011. One hundred and forty-seven of the 498, however, involved CST officers, according to the report. They were self-induced, Stessel said..
And if you look at the actual crimes committed against customers not officers, the number is 351, according to Stessel. CST did not exist in the first quarter of 2011, and now it is playing a part.
"What would look like large increases are actually the result of our undercover decoy operations," Stessel said.