More crime on Amtrak NEC; increase police presence

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More crime on Amtrak NEC; increase police presence
Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, February 22, 2020 8:33 PM
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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, February 22, 2020 9:29 PM

Story takes some interesting bounces, first in noting that Amtrak has cut its police force about 20% -- almost certainly as part of the Congressional profitability-mandate thing -- and Anderson got a predictable reaming in Congress, supposedly over relative lack of security, but probably over union folks talking to politicians.  

From the story:

At a House hearing in November, Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., questioned Amtrak's assertion that personnel losses have not taken a toll on the police department.

"Not to be too alarmist, but we have trains running between Washington and New York City, the heart of what some people with anti-government ideologists consider to be the establishment of the United States. I can walk in those trains without a metal detector," Malinowski said. "What would happen if somebody opened fire on a train with hundreds of people on the Northeast Corridor? How equipped is Amtrak to deal with that situation?"

 

The ongoing changes, Anderson reassured Malinowski, put Amtrak in better position to handle any such security threats.

“We have morphed the department from a traditional management-heavy organization to an organization that puts a lot of policemen on trains and in stations,” he said.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, February 22, 2020 11:23 PM

"Not to be alarmist" means, of course,  that he intended to do precisely  that! 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:35 AM

charlie hebdo
"Not to be alarmist" means, of course,  that he intended to do precisely  that!

Right from the standard "Schumenthal" playbook.

Ya gotta love rhetoric when expediency lets you 'take off the gloves' without consequence or discipline...

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:51 AM

But if crime actually has increased on trains in the NEC,  it is a problem. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 23, 2020 11:26 AM

charlie hebdo
But if crime actually has increased on trains in the NEC, it is a problem. 

Yes ... and I suspect that if it has it might be independent of the actions taken to reduce 'policing' costs (which so far appear to have been made more in administration than in 'boots in the field' so to speak.

As with the First Nations protests in Canada, if a given group of potential 'criminals' gets the idea they won't have appropriate consequences for their actions they'll be encouraged to increase their activity.  Much of what I read between the lines as the crime 'increase' is nominally petty, the sort of thing difficult if not impossible to trace, let alone remediate or punish effectively.  A problem is that once this sort of perception gets established, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop merely by putting back more police or working them longer hours -- until there are police potentially anywhere, the temptation remains larger than the restraint.  

It would be nice to legislate better morality or ethics or even self-control instead ... but we all know how that song goes.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, February 23, 2020 1:54 PM

My sense of it is that it pertains more to unruly, disturbed or intoxicated patrons whom the Amtrak conductors don't want to deal with.  The airlines have this problem also. Signs of the times. 

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 23, 2020 2:45 PM

charlie hebdo
... unruly, disturbed or intoxicated patrons whom the Amtrak conductors don't want to deal with.

On virtually any Amtrak train I've read about, such a thing would be cause for the fangs to come down, the person to be put off the train with summary prejudice, and the police called to escort them further from Amtrak property.  This is a well-honed tactic on LD trains; I have seen the authority used as an overt threat both on the NEC and Erie-Lackawanna commuter trains; I'd expect the dead hand of authority to land on even comparatively innocent 'criminals' with remarkable and implacable speed, especially between New York and Trenton if they make even the implied mistake of mouthing off.

What your comment leads me to wonder is precisely what the nature of the supposed 'petty offenses' is.  Can it, in fact, include the statutory presence of open containers of alcohol outside first class?  Or playing obnoxious music?  Or putting feet up on the seats?  Perhaps the actual data can be harvested or read somewhere...

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, February 23, 2020 3:01 PM

charlie hebdo
... unruly, disturbed or intoxicated patrons whom the Amtrak conductors don't want to deal with.

On virtually any Amtrak train I've read about, such a thing would be cause for the fangs to come down, the person to be put off the train with summary prejudice, and the police called to escort them further from Amtrak property.  This is a well-honed tactic on LD trains; I have seen the authority used as an overt threat both on the NEC and Erie-Lackawanna commuter trains; I'd expect the dead hand of authority to land on even comparatively innocent 'criminals' with remarkable and implacable speed, especially between New York and Trenton if they make even the implied mistake of mouthing off.

What your comment leads me to wonder is precisely what the nature of the supposed 'petty offenses' is.  Can it, in fact, include the statutory presence of open containers of alcohol outside first class?  Or playing obnoxious music?  Or putting feet up on the seats?  Perhaps the actual data can be harvested or read somewhere...

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