MARTA Enters New Year With Safer System, Enhanced Security Programs Thanks to Efforts of MARTA Police Department
Advanced Training, Social Service Partnerships, & Collaborative Police Work Among MPD’s Accomplishments in 2021
The MARTA Police Department (MPD) ensured MARTA remained a safe, secure system for another year, accomplishing a significant reduction in violent crimes in 2021, providing additional training and certification for officers, and partnering with social service organizations to improve the customer experience.
In 2021, MPD reported a 17 percent reduction in Part 1 crimes (violent and property crimes) compared to 2020, specifically a 32 percent reduction in robberies and 20 percent reduction in aggravated assaults. Additionally, the department boasted an almost 100 percent clearance rate for aggravated assault cases and an 87 percent clearance rate for robberies, meaning a criminal was arrested, charged, or turned over to the court system for prosecution.
In the past year, MARTA police officers responded to over 100,000 calls for service from customers using 851 or MARTA’s See&Say app. New technology such as handheld fare readers and RapidID monitors, along with new weapons, and upgrades to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robot helped officers better handle crimes from fare evasion to a suspicious package. Officers underwent advanced training in crisis intervention, de-escalation techniques, and implicit bias, further assisting them in navigating situations where emotions and stress levels are high.
MPD’s partnerships with fellow law enforcement agencies in the past year provided additional officer visibility and security to the MARTA system and surrounding communities. Last July, MPD’s Central Precinct partnered with the Atlanta Police Department and Georgia State University law enforcement on a joint crime suppression detail where an officer from each agency patrolled the Georgia State rail station and nearby neighborhoods. A similar detail consisting of MARTA and Atlanta bicycle officers patrolled the Lindbergh/Morosgo area and reported a seven percent reduction in crime.
“These joint details are important community-style policing efforts that ensure people feel safe and that their property is secure whether they are riding MARTA or working and living near a rail station,” said MARTA Police Chief Scott Kreher. “I truly believe there is no more noble profession that law enforcement and I am proud of the work our officers are doing during a challenging time as the pandemic enters its third year.”
MARTA Police Department Field Protective Specialists remain an integral part of the Authority’s MARTA Hope Program. These trained, unarmed specialists accompany social service professionals from HOPE Atlanta as they assist and support homeless individuals on the MARTA system. The program, started in August 2020 as COVID-related homelessness increased, is designed to find solutions that safeguard customers and employees, minimize the need to involve MARTA police in non-criminal activities, and treat everyone with dignity and respect. Since its inception, the program has engaged over 3,000 individuals and in many cases connected them with resources and support services.
MPD’s accomplishments in 2021, that included certifying 19 new Tactical Field Officers and improving regional law enforcement partnerships with updated memorandums of understanding, earned the department an important recertification of state and federal accreditation standards.