Managing security – and perception of security – is a growing challenge for many metro operators. In North America and Europe where crime and disorder is a significant concern for metros, perception of security in public spaces has been influenced by wider quality-of-life issues that pre-dated COVID-19 related to homelessness, drug and alcohol use and mental health. The pandemic also raised new challenges of staff unavailability and lower ridership which reduced the presence of ‘active bystanders’ on metro networks.
As such, the study aims to understand changes in crime and anti-social behaviour since the pandemic began, and to share initiatives implemented by metros to reduce incident rates and to improve customer perceptions of personal safety. This report contains data compiled from twenty-seven COMET members, including an in-depth interview with the Deputy Chief of Police at San Francisco BART. It reviews factors impacting crime in metros, key barriers to improving security, incident rates during pandemic, as well as opportunities and actions to combat crime and disorder.