Light Rail Crime Statistics

 As of October 2008, there were 182 crimes reported for the year

These statistics are for the transit system, which also includes bus travel. Crimes include everything from assault, robbery, auto theft and vandalism to petty theft and trespassing.

In an average month, there is far less crime reported for someone riding the light rail than reported crime in Downtown Sacramento. The Sacramento PD offers a crime mapping tool where you can obtain a detailed report of all crimes during a specified period for either a particular neighborhood or intersection.

In the month of October, 2008, 100 incidents were reported in the downtown area. With 17,000 residents in the downtown area, this makes for 5.8 crimes per 1,000 people.

Compare this rate to reported transit crimes during the same month: 41 crimes for the 1,627,000 transit passengers, which means only .012 crimes per thousand passengers.

However, it’s difficult to compare crime in the downtown area with crime related to the transit system. For example, riding in the actual light rail cars would naturally be safer than walking around certain parts of Downtown Sacramento. The light rail cars are heavily monitored by RT officers, while there aren’t necessarily going to be officers paroling every street.

Once a person steps off the light rail car, though, safety will depend heavily on the location of the station. Again using the Sacramento PD crime mapping tool, I was able to map all crime that occurred from August through October, 2008, within a one-mile radius surrounding various light rail stations.

Crime varied drastically, even within the downtown stations. At the Marconi and Arcade station there were 222 reported incidents. At the 8th and O street station there were over four times this amount, with 948 incidents. Riders should choose their routes carefully, especially if traveling alone or at night.

How does the Sacramento RT system compare to public transportation in other cities?

Current Bay Area Rapid Transit System crime statistics were difficult to obtain, but in the year 2003 the Alameda County Congestion Management Agency reported .79 crimes per 1,000 patrons, per year. Overall, 17,770 crimes were reported in the year 2003 for the estimated 22,387,072 patrons who rode the BART system that year.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported .0047 incidents on the trolley cars per 1,000 riders in the year 2007.


  • William Burg

    One trend I have noticed over the past year: a couple of people who committed crimes while not on Light Rail got on Light rail hoping to make a getaway, and got arrested because they appeared on surveillance cameras. Sooner or later word will get out that Light Rail isn’t a good idea if you’re fleeing a crime scene…

  • Um…maybe you should rethink your comparison. There are not only 17,000 people in the downtown area. Many more than that travel through that area on a given day, so the crimes per capita ratio should be adjusted for that. Just like it would make no sense to look at crimes committed on the light rail per RT employee.