Follow-Up: Police presence on MAX

The Gresham Outlook has a new article about the increased police presence on MAX in the Gresham area.

The full article details the efforts of police and the reaction of the riders. The end of the article provides 3 weeks’ worth of statistics, the first of which I’ll excerpt here:

Week one: Nov. 7-12

  • 800 citizen contacts
  • 56 exclusions from TriMet property
  • 13 citations, including five for lack of fare
  • 2 felony arrests

In my comment on the Outlook web site about the article, I mentioned the statistics were interesting:

Of the contacts that the police made with individuals (which are a subset of the overall number of people at a given station or on a given train), the rate of cite-able offenses was no greater than 1.6%, and the rate of exclusions from those contacts was no greater than 11%. The highest arrest rate from any of those weeks was 1.2% of all persons contacted.

This will provide more fuel for the debate: Do the statistics represent an unusually high rate of bad behavior on MAX, or (based on the number of police contacts with a subset of the transit-using public) do they show that the overwhelming majority of MAX riders are law-abiding and non-disruptive? If the statistics are high, will a sustained/permanent law enforcement presence be sufficient to substantially deter crime and bad behavior, and if so, what level is required and how many resources will be required to sustain it?

Update [2007-11-28 12:23pm]:

The Forest Grove News Times is now reporting the schedule/location details of the “Safety Summit”:

When: 10 a.m. – noon, Friday, Nov. 30
Where: Public Services Bldg, 155 N. First Ave., Hillsboro
Note: No time for public comment has been scheduled

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