Crime, Transportation

Sound Transit: Ten on-Train Robberies in January; Three Arrests

SEATTLE – Sound Transit says there were ten on-train robberies last month, with most of them occurring in the Rainier Valley and involving teenagers snatching phones and other electronic devices from riders as trains came to a stop at the stations.

The announcement comes less than two months after Seattle Police warned of robbers targeting victims near bus stops and Light Rail stations who were distracted by phones or iPods.

“Some of the hotspots for this activity have been near the Mount Baker Light Rail Station, the Columbia City Light Rail Station, the area of Martin Luther King Jr. Way S & S Othello Street, and the area of Rainier Ave S & S Henderson Street,” read a community bulletin from South Precinct Commander Captain Michael Nolan and Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Solomon.

At the time, Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray said the agency had not seen reports of issues at light rail stations or on the trains.

Shortly thereafter, he revised Sound Transit’s response to include the report of a November robbery aboard a train that had just pulled into Columbia City station. He said a woman was sitting on the train when a young black male grabbed her phone and ran out the open doors.

“All riders are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings and guard against having valuable electronics easily taken from their hands,” said Gray. “These expensive compact devices have become a favorite target of opportunistic thieves who take advantage of riders who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.”

He added that police recently arrested three suspects they believe are responsible for at least some of the robberies and that additional arrests are pending.

Sound Transit light rail trains and platforms are equipped with surveillance cameras as well as emergency call buttons on the trains and platforms. Uniformed and non-uniformed police, security guards and fare enforcement officers also regularly patrol the trains and platforms.

Photo/Rainier Valley Post

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45 Comments on "Sound Transit: Ten on-Train Robberies in January; Three Arrests"

3 years 7 months ago

Frankly, crime can happen anywhere. But, yall are over reacting….its really not even close to being dangerous. Honestly, no where in Seattle is truly dangerous. Clearly, yall have never lived in any other city. Me, coming from Detroit, its common sense to pay attention to your surroundings, make eye contact with people, and not be playing around with expensive gadgets in public. Really, if you feel that unsafe, get a permit and carry a pistol. Most of these crimes are committed with teens with nothing better to do. They all have access to decent schools and do not live in extreme poverty. As is the case for youth in Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans. These kids committ crimes to “prove” something, they aint hungry. Keep your head on a swivel and make eye contact. ” I see you, seeing me” and keep your damn phones in your pockets.

tom dobrowolsky
3 years 7 months ago

I’m in agreement with NickS here. I ride Link every day and, personally, the Link stations and trains are not a big concern for me. Don’t be gingerly hanging onto your iPhone as you’re all distracted by it to notice who is around, and you’ll be mostly fine. Look around and hang onto that thing tightly if you take it out. Also it’s best not to be taking out all your electronics on the train and setting up office like I see some people do.

But my biggest concern is when I cross the street from the station and walk away through the not-so-well-lit streets while all the neighbors are inside. It’s nothing to do with transit, actually. Brighton/Othello feels downright suburban quiet and deserted sometimes, which is no good for “eyes on the street” crime deterrence. I’m hoping that with increased transit and pedestrian traffic eventually, the streets will feel less deserted.

3 years 8 months ago

@angeldove: If you’re using an Orca card, you touch the card to the reader on the bus, and to the reader at the light rail station, then “tap out” when you’re exiting the light rail station. Transfers are handled automatically, and there’s no need to carry change.

Like I said, the getting to the light rail is the hard part. I walk one mile in each direction, which for me because I’m healthy and mobile is not a big deal. If it wasn’t for the possibility of getting beaten to death for my gym bag, I’d really enjoy the walk. That said, my parents visited recently and they opted to just take the bus downtown. They’re in the 70s, and due to arthritis, the walk was a little too far and too painful (the perceived risk of being shivved for their box of Super Colon Blow may have had something to do with it too).

Not sure what the answer is for that; maybe a shuttle that runs every 5 minutes at peak times between Rainier Ave S & MLK Jr Way S?

Mark B
3 years 8 months ago

@Tasha 3.0

“Awww look at all these new folks trying to regulate. JK

Mark B for Mayor!”

I was thinking straight for the presidency.
You could be my First Lady.

Well, maybe not my first….

3 years 8 months ago

Boycott or no boycott really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference, ridership is not very high. But if crime keeps escalating on the train and off, ridership will be close to zero. I predict when it extends to Capitol Hill, there will be more riff raff. They will have to deal with a violatile transient population.
Lastly, I’ve taken the light rail Downtown several times and to the airport and it’s wonderful, can’t avoid taking baggage tho, need my clean underwear.

3 years 8 months ago

boycott have you ridden a bus lately? i rode one on Saturday had to listen to someones rap all the way downtown and also had to listen to it on the way back home! The bus was packed and this was a Saturday, standing room only! I don’t take the lr because I would have to walk to Othello St. ( four blocks city blocks) catch a 39 bus, pay for the bus and then pay for the damn train to go elsewhere. Othello St. is not a choice area to stand and wait for a bus (too many thugs) So you think transit options are improving? I think not!!!!!!!

3 years 8 months ago

I’m just venting frustration because I appreciate that transit options have been improving when, or if, you don’t need personally owned transport; it wasn’t long ago that all we had were expensive but fast taxi cabs and Metro buses. A train adds quite a bit to a metropolitan area.

A well organized boycott is the equivalent of a nuclear attack, don’t do it at all unless you absolutely have to, as a means of last resort. Sentiment has to be in a really bad place for this to be effective anyway, not everyone would agree to such a boycott.

3 years 8 months ago

Tasha and Mark are cracking my sh*t UP!!!! quit it, i’m trying to be grouchy about life!!! how’my suppose to do that with the two of you making me laugh?? stop, just stop!