Metro's Park and Pillage (updated — Metro's forming a Task Force!)

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Remember Metro’s bright idea to save some bucks and install security cameras at Park and Rides instead of having security guards? That was some good thinking:

More than a dozen angry commuters could be found among the shattered glass and broken car locks at a Park ‘N Ride lot at the Addicks location on Old Katy Road in the far west side of Houston.

As each bus pulled into the lot, more and more passengers, like Noelle Stewart, immediately reached for their cell phones.

“I said whoever did this job over here, they was having party with the cars for a long time. There wasn’t no police, no security, no nothing,” says one victim.

All of the victims were surprised by the lack of security. There are cameras and security tower, but no one was inside.

When asked if he thought there was security, victim Frank Flores says, “I thought so. When I first started working downtown, I saw a security guard back up there. Recently, I didn’t see anybody, but I thought they came in later or they were here earlier, but I guess that’s not the case.”

Metro stopped putting guards in all the booths as of January 1.

The suspect or suspects took everything from digital cameras to CDs to Walkmans to a lot of satellite radios.


Metro officers arrived and began taking reports. Some of them even took the time to take fingerprints.


There is no one in the security booth during the day and it appears that the cameras in the lot are pointed toward the traffic to let Metro know how much traffic flow is going through the area.

Oh my! On top of the bad decision to use cameras for security, KHOU-11 says Metro is using the cameras to count cars instead of actually keeping an eye on the cars in the parking lot!

Metro’s decision-making continues to defy reason.

KEVIN WHITED ADDS: And where has METRO deployed the manpower that might previously have been out preventing theft and vandalism in its Park and Ride lots?

As I noted previously, three METRO (not HPD) officers were sitting near the Sears parking lot in midtown this past Monday, issuing traffic citations related to an intersection that is confusing and dangerous to motorists because of METRO’s own poor planning with regard to the rail line!

Taxpayers deserve better from their transit authority and other municipal leaders.

RELATED: Park and Rape (Laurence Simon)

Metro Chief Tom Lambert

UPDATE: On a KTRH-740 newsbreak, Metro police chief Tom Lambert just said that security guards would not be reinstated at Park and Rides despite the multiple car break-ins yesterday. Nope. Chief Lambert says (I am not kidding) that he is forming a Park and Ride Task Force to assess what and where the problems are. The KTRH reporter also said Metro acknowledges that crime has increased at Park and Rides since security guards were removed. Also, according to KTRH, Metro says the cameras at the Addicks lot weren’t working yesterday.

Yeah, my jaw is on the floor as well…

UPDATE AGAIN: KPRC-2 has more and Metro looks even worse, if that’s possible:

Lambert does not believe bringing back the security guards would be effective, and it would cost METRO nearly $1 million a year.

KEVIN WHITED ADDS MORE: Here’s a possibility. Have the Task Force meet several times a day. And hold the meetings in the unused guard towers at different Park and Rides throughout the METRO service area! Hey, if they have time to meet in the first place, then why not actually have them do some good while they’re meeting?

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Anne Linehan is a co-founder of blogHOUSTON.