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3,000 crimes in 12 months on West Midlands buses

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Buses in the West Midlands have been plagued by more than 3,300 crimes during the last 12 months, new figures reveal today.

Buses in the West Midlands have been plagued by more than 3,300 crimes during the last 12 months, new figures reveal today.

More than 30 serious incidents – including robberies, violent crimes and sex offences – were committed on the network every single week between 2009-10.

In all, 3,341 incidents were reported, including thefts, property damage and drug possessions. Although the figure is a reduction from the previous year when 4,105 offences were committed, travel campaigners said today more still needed to be done.

Bob Jones, chairman of Wolverhampton City Council's scrutiny committee review on transport safety, said: "It's a cliche but just one crime is too many and 3,300 is certainly so. Of course we accept it's a busy network serving lots of people and we're happy the numbers are going down but the overall figures are still too many.

"We need more CCTV, more visible police on the buses and actually more people using the network – because more commuters would itself act as a deterrent."

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, come just weeks after the Express & Star revealed 214 crimes had been recorded at Wolverhampton train station in a single year.

But Steve Swingler, spokesman with West Midlands transport authority Centro, said: "We are constantly working at bringing down crime and the figures show that is succeeding. Crime on the buses is taken extremely serious, that is why we have a dedicated Safer Travel Team. We must remember this figure equates to one serious crime committed in every 126,000 bus journeys."

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Chief Inspector Matt Markham, of West Midlands Police, said: "We have been working part with public transport providers for many years to help make public transport safe.

"As the reduction show, our Safer Travel Team is having a huge impact on crime across the network with significant drops being achieved. While the figures may still appear high, this does have to be looked at in the context of the many thousands of people who use the buses every single day and the many miles travelled.

"In this context, the rate of crime reduction shows that the figures are definitely going in the right direction at a good rate."

The figures have been released after a spate of crimes targeting the Midland Metro in the Wednesbury area.

Track-side electrical equipment was taken from the area immediately north of Wednesbury Parkway tram stop over two weeks in April. Bosses put up a £500 reward to catch the thieves, who caused the tram services to be disrupted in the region.

Another £500 reward was put up last month after a tram window was smashed as it went through West Bromwich on May 16.

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