February 03, 2014It's a cold night as the man waits at the train station. The wind is ghastly and chills him. Finally, the train arrives and he gets aboard with one furtive glance behind him. As he sets the stolen 37-inch flat-screen TV on the floor, he thought, "Finally, I got away."
The absurdity of this should be striking. Whenever the topic of public transportation pops up, someone inevitably comments how criminals travel those buses or rails from downtown Atlanta and beyond.
For many, it seems, the concepts of public transportation and crime go hand-in-hand. If buses or rails are brought up north into the suburbs, the criminal element will get on at Five Points and ride it clear up here, where good, honest people live.
I'm not sure where this idea came from.
I read crime reports every day of some of the stupidest and cleverest criminals who plague our cities in North Fulton. Let me tell you something – in the six years I have done this, only twice have I read of someone committing a crime and then using MARTA as transportation. In both cases, the criminal was caught because he was waiting for the bus.
Criminals aren't stupid, but sometimes I think the anti-MARTA people are woefully ignorant of human nature. If you commit a crime, are you going to do it according to the bus schedule? Are you really going to run from police and then hop on a bus like nothing happened?
The sad fact is that the vast majority of crimes are helped by Ga. 400.
That same road that is the lifeblood of North Fulton runs both ways. Criminals come up, get off at one of the exits, stop at North Point Mall or a local Walmart, commit a crime and then they are off in a flash, headed back downtown.
It happens every day.
If you want proof, just look at our crime pages. Every week, some of the simplest crimes are committed not by locals, but by people from Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Snellville. How did they get here? Did they spend two hours riding the bus just to steal $20 worth of clothing? No. They drove up Ga. 400 and looked for an easy target.
Entering auto crimes are especially bad. For those who don't know the lingo, this is anytime someone breaks into a vehicle by any means. Broken windows or jimmied locks can take seconds if you know how, and often the pickings are great, especially at the holidays. Taking 30 seconds to break into three cars, grab what you can and then be off on the highway is too tempting a target for criminals.
It seems to me the only correlation between public transportation and crime is the density that typically follows rail. With more people, there will be more crime.
If ever there were an issue North Fulton should be concerned about, density is right near the top. There are enough things to worry about in the future of our communities – traffic, property values, density and schools. Inventing problems takes our eyes off the ball.
Editor, Milton Herald