New Unit to Target Crime Hotspots on SEPTA

SEPTA is creating a new unit to fight crime on its 1,860-mile transit network.

The Transit Police Tactical Unit will pull together 26 officers from other parts of the SEPTA Transit Police force to target crime hotspots.

Each day, the unit will analyze crime complaints and service calls from the previous day across the system. Tactical unit officers will then head out those high-crime locations and saturate the area.

SEPTA Transit Police Chief Thomas Nestel, III says the unit’s primary goal will be to reduce crime and provide peace of mind to its 830,000 weekly riders.

"I want to address the problems," he said. "It doesn't do anybody any good to see cops in areas where there are no problems."

Thefts and fair evasions are the most common crimes on the SEPTA network. Last month, there were 199 incidents of fare evasion and 93 thefts.

Nine robberies, two burglaries and two aggrivated assaults took place in May, according to SEPTA Transit Police data.

Chief Nestel, III took to Twitter Thursday to put potential criminals on notice, saying they “better take a cab” once the tactical unit deploys on August 11.

The transit authority already utilizes 12,000 surveillance cameras -- 1,200 which feature live feeds – to monitor for crime and suspicious activity on its network of buses, trains and trolleys.

Riders take more than 339 million trips on SEPTA every year. The transit authority serves a 2,202-square-mile area.

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