Public transport is a dangerous place, judging by the crime rates NSW Police have revealed on the second anniversary of the Police Transport Command (PTC).
Over the last two years, the Sydney-based PTC has arrested more than 5000 people, laying in excess of 9000 charges and issuing 92,000 infringement notices for offences ranging from drug possession, arson, indecent and sexual assault and malicious damage.
The command began in May 2012 to police the public transport network. Their most recent crackdown on graffiti and malicious damage led two major arrests. Yesterday a 19-year-old Hurstville man was charged 18 offences following damage estimated at $45,000 to trains. When police executed a search warrant on his home earlier this month, they seized a laptop computer, mobile phone, detonators and graffiti related material. Another search of a home in Emerton in Sydney’s west, saw police seize two firearms and charge a man with commercial drug supply.
The 400-member PTC is based in three hubs spanning Central Sydney, Parramatta and Bankstown, and also stretches to Wollongong and the Hunter Region. It will grow to 610 officers by the end of 2014. Each hub also has its own TAG units, Operational Support Group (OSG) police and even bicycle-riding officers.
The PTC’s approach isn’t about keeping feet off seats. A lot of their work is intelligence-based and targets known crime hot-spots using plain-clothed officers and drug dogs. Their approach is paying dividends. Despite the seemingly high arrest rate, crime rates appear to be falling.
Operation Viewpoint2, which targeted Central Railway Station from January this year, has seen a reduction of reported assaults from 65 to 17; malicious damage offences from 65 to seven; and stealing offences dropping from 123 to 16, compared with the first quarter of 2013.
The South/South West PTC sector has seen more than 2,100 arrests made; more than 880 drug detections; and 84 malicious damage offences detected in 24 months.
The North West Sector saw a 50% reduction in robbery offences and a 58% reduction in malicious damage offences on public transport over the past 12 months.