Victim not consoled by DART’s lower crime rate - Dallas News |

Victim not consoled by DART’s lower crime rate

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A Dallas woman on her way to work last week was robbed by two thugs on a Dallas Area Rapid Transit train. While DART acknowledges the incident happened, it said the trains are safer now.

Michelle Howard disagrees.

In fact, the unit technician at Parkland Hospital has decided to shop for a car rather than rely on DART to get around like she has since she moved to Dallas two years ago.

"Because I'm terrified of taking the train," she said.

Last week Howard took the DART green line to work the overnight shift.

As her train pulled into the Hatcher Station at about 9:30 p.m., two men who she said had been harassing her robbed her.

"We came to a stop at the Hatcher Station and the gentlemen snatched my backpack off of me, tore my backpack off my shoulder," she said. "I started screaming, ‘They just robbed me. They just robbed me.'"

Though DART admits robberies like Howard's do happen, there are not as many as people think.

According to statistics from the transportation provider, there have been only 39 robberies through the first seven months of this year.

Robberies are down 43 percent from last year and overall crime is down 17 percent on the buses, trains and at train stations.

"Since February of this year we've had a uniformed presence on every one of those trains. It's either a police officer, a fare enforcement officer or an armed guard," said Mark Ball, a spokesman for DART.

February was when two people were killed and a DART officer was shot at the Arapaho Road Station. The officer's protective vest and a cross in her shirt pocket were credited with saving her life.

Ball said DART's security personnel on the green line the night Howard was robbed could have been in a different car and did not know what was happening.

He could not say if there was security posted at the station itself where the men took the backpack and bolted.

"We have cameras at every one of our stations. We currently have 58 stations and a minimum of 10 cameras at the stations, so we're looking at you at all times," he said.

DART would not release the video of the robbery because investigators want Howard to try to pick the two suspects out from a photo lineup.

Howard will cooperate, but she doesn't plan to spend any more time with DART in the future.

"I'm not gonna get on that train again because I'm buying myself a car and I'm so happy about it," she said.


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