Chronicle continues to enable Metro
In today's Chronicle, Lucas Wall writes up the story that KHOU-11 had a couple of days ago about Metro pulling security guards from Park and Ride lots. Unfortunately, Wall didn't appear to do much digging and instead relied upon Metro for all his facts:
Metro police Capt. Mike Raney said it was not cost effective to keep the guards when a video system can be installed for an up-front cost of about $2 million and be in operation for numerous years at little cost.
The surveillance system, which will be monitored by police at Houston TranStar, will be installed this summer.
Thefts at Park & Ride lots, where commuters catch express buses into the city center or meet car pools, are rare, according to Metro police. Raney said there were only six automobile burglaries reported in December and 16 in November. When there's a rash of items stolen from cars at a certain lot, police send undercover officers to watch for thieves, Raney said.
"I assure you if there's any type of spike in crime, we're out there," he said. "We've never been an agency that has let crime become an ongoing problem. People feel safe, feel their cars are safe, and we're going to make sure that continues to happen."
Metro police officers who patrol HOV lanes are now also cruising through the Park & Ride lots during the mid-day period.
I don't know that I would characterize 22 automobile burglaries in two months as rare. I suppose it depends on one's perspective, but if I'm one of those 22, I'm not going to be happy to hear that Metro thinks there's not a problem. And according to KHOU-11, actual crime incidents at Metro facilities are not rare at all:
An 11 News investigation uncovered thousands of calls for help from Metro transit locations. Many calls were for burglary of a vehicle or car theft but the cases also included assault, aggravated assault, sexual assault and even homicides.
So, Metro has decided to save some bucks, because money is tight with the massive debt light rail has caused Metro, and become reactive about crime. Instead of having a visible deterrent in security guards, Metro is going to fight crime on the cheap and respond when something is seen on a security camera. Wall should have taken this opportunity to fact check Metro police, like KHOU-11 did, but apparently he couldn't be bothered.