Crime driven off D.C. streets onto Metro, officials say

Metro Transit Police Chief Michael Taborn said there are more calls for help on Metro.

(AP, ABC7) - The Metro Transit police chief says his officers have responded to an increasing number of calls this year for suspicious packages or persons or bomb threats.

Chief Michael Taborn said during a congressional hearing Friday on Metro security and safety that he believes the increase is due to a campaign encouraging travelers to be aggressive in reporting anything suspicious. Metro officials responded to a scare last week after a woman boarding a Red Line train in Rockville claimed to have a bomb.

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said at the hearing that she thinks the Metro police force needs more officers. She says her department has been successful in driving crime off city streets, but that the violence has spread into the rail system.

The hearing before the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommitte on Health Care, District of Columbia was titled “Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority – Is there a security gap?”

In addition to Lanier and Taborn, WMATA head Richard Sarles and Fairfax County Executive Anthony Griffin testified.