home | nieuws | projecten | www-links | bibliotheek | vraag het RCM

Washington D.C. - WMATA

Crime prevention measures
The Washington D.C. Metro was designed and planned with maximum consideration towards establishing visibility, social control, and a pleasant atmosphere. The system is relatively small as it consists of 72 stations, 144 kilometres (90 miles) of track, and carries an average of 281,500 daily trips. Stations are beautifully designed with red tile floors; softly shaded, arched ceilings and walls; and "floating overpasses". Lighting is used both in a functional way (sufficient lighting levels where needed) and in an aesthetic way: different light levels and colours interact in an entertaining and tasteful fashion. Because of the arch construction, columns are mostly unnecessary. Areas are spaciously designed and visual barriers are limited. Where possible, vistas and elevated walkways are created, enabling social control between the different areas as well as the different station levels. The spacious design of Washington's streets and squares assisted the Metro designers to construct station entrances that are spacious, visible, and supportive to capturing natural daylight and guiding it into the metro system. Stairwells and corridors are free from sharp corners, dark niches, cul-de-sacs, and other potential hiding places. The trains are also designed to be visible, controlled, and pleasant. Their walls alongside and between the metro cars contain a high percentage of windows. Visual barriers are limited and the interior colouring is light and fashionable. Good maintenance and cleaning keeps both the stations and vehicles attractive and free from traces of graffiti and deterioration.

As in contemporary New York, the Washington D.C. Metro sets and maintains a clear norm towards non-felony crimes such as graffiti, vandalism, and fare evasion as well as infractions such as eating, drinking, smoking, littering, and loitering. To these misdemeanours they maintain, as they call it, a "0 Tolerance". The arched station walls are recessed from the walking spaces. They are buffered by the application of trenches and railings so that graffiti offenders cannot reach them with their spray cans. When graffiti does occur, it is removed as quickly as possible. Police officers patrol the stations and approach loitering, consuming, and littering people. Vagrants trying to sleep in the system are removed. Local commuters violating the rules of eating, drinking, smoking, and littering are issued a fine. Visitors get warnings.

Like its counterpart in New York, the Washington D.C. Metro has its own police department. This Metro Police Department currently consists of 240 members; among which are a number of bicycle officers. These bicycle-equipped officers have proven to be very efficient indeed as they can swiftly move through the different areas of the station. The design of the stations is supportive of policing. Entrances and exits are built in a way that makes it easy for police officers to control in- and outcoming passengers and (if needed) to seal off the entrances completely. The elevated walkways make it possible for the surveillance of large parts of the station from only a few observation points.

other metro systems  


  crime and insecurity   crime prevention measures

Source: López, M.J.J., Crime Prevention Guidelines for the Construction & Management of Metro Systems, Den Haag: RCM-advies 1996, pg. 28-30.

Order this book