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7 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND head and eye injuries that required surgery. The assailant was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. This Although serious crime within transit systems is relatively rare incident spurred the Edmonton Transit System to take addi- and constitutes a small percentage of overall crime, even one tional initiatives to address bus operator assaults (6). NYC serious incident of violence can make media headlines and Transit bus operator Edwin Thomas, 46, was attacked and diminish the perception of security, especially if the crime is killed on December 1, 2008, at a B46 bus stop on Malcolm X against the transit operator. Less serious assaults against bus Boulevard in Brooklyn, N.Y. A paroled felon, Horace Moore, operators are much more frequent (1). Even seemingly minor had used an invalid Metrocard and subsequently asked for assaults, such as spitting and verbal threats, can cause psycho- a transfer at Gates Avenue. When operator Thomas refused, logical trauma and affect the work force. About 1,100 bus Moore punched him twice in the head and exited. Moore then transit systems in the United States employed 195,181 work- returned and stabbed Thomas repeatedly with a knife. Thomas, ers and provided 5.57 billion passenger trips in 2008 (2). a 7-year veteran of NYCT and the father of two teenage chil- Violence against operators creates a stressful work environ- dren, was pronounced dead at 1:11 p.m., less than 45 minutes ment for victims and their coworkers, making it more chal- after the attack had taken place (7, 8). lenging for them to serve their customers. Transit agencies report lost productivity, increased absenteeism, and workers' There is a consensus among those in the transit commu- compensation claims as a result of assaults against their bus nity that violence against bus operators is a continuing and operators. serious problem, and more needs to be done to prevent it. Transit workers are at higher risk for violence than are Bus operators are especially vulnerable because they workers in many other occupations. According to the Bureau interact with the public on a daily basis. They make use of of Labor Statistics and the National Institute for Occupa- a complex skill set, which includes communications and tional Safety and Health, there is an increased risk of work- problem-solving skills, and need the right temperament to place violence for workers who have direct contact with the succeed at their jobs. Bus operators have been the victims of public, have mobile workplaces or deliver services, work in assaults by passengers for decades. However, there have community settings, deliver passengers, handle money, and been positive changes that have decreased the number of work in small numbers (3, 4). assaults over the years. In the 1960s, exact-fare policies were implemented by U.S. transit systems, and operators no longer When a passenger assaults a bus operator while the oper- had to carry change. The Automated Fare Collection systems ator is driving the vehicle, other passengers, along with other were installed in the 1990s and helped mitigate fare-related drivers and pedestrians, are placed at risk. In California, Omni- disputes, although transfer issues persist. Also, the notion trans bus operator Lawrence Kester was stabbed on May 7, that the bus operator is the "enforcer" of fare payment and 2010, while operating a bus. After Kester was attacked, the other rules has been changing. In the past decade, in response bus veered off the road and crashed into a tree. The operator, a to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, extensive 15-year veteran of Omnitrans, died, leaving behind a wife and investments in counterterrorism efforts have been made by eight children. A 33-year-old man was charged with his mur- federal and local agencies. Some of these investments are der. The agency made grief counselors available to Kester's also useful in protecting bus operators against passenger family and his coworkers (5). Some assaults, such as this one, assault. To optimize limited resources, Homeland Security occur out of the blue, and there was probably nothing the Presidential Directive 8 on National Preparedness required operator could have done differently to prevent this attack. the establishment of an all-hazards preparedness goal. All- hazards preparedness for transit agencies is defined as inte- Other assaults are preceded by disputes, often fare- grated planning and capability building for safety, security, related. On December 3, 2009, a veteran Edmonton Transit and emergency management to optimize and continuously bus operator, Thomas Bregg, was severely injured in an improve the use of resources and the management of risks assault during the morning peak hour. A man who boarded from hazards, threats, vulnerabilities, and adverse events or the 10 Clareview bus in northeast Edmonton began arguing incidents (9). Using the all-hazards approach to risk manage- about the fare and then attacked the operator, causing severe ment, transit agencies have been seeking to leverage homeland

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8 security grants and stimulus monies to implement protective Only three states are "unrestricted"--Alaska, Vermont, and measures for bus operators. Arizona. "No-issue" states are Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Wisconsin, along with the District of Columbia. Al- though Hawaii and New Jersey are technically "may-issue," Bus Operator Protection Measures they are "no-issue" in practice. Other "may-issue" states in- clude California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New A wide range of methods to protect bus operators includes York, and Rhode Island. In some of these states, county technology, policing, training, information management, poli- authorities have discretion and carry laws can vary greatly cies, and outreach. Methods can be direct and preventative or within the state. For example, in New York state, New York indirect and longer-term. Others are primarily for incident City is "no-issue" in practice, whereas upstate areas practice response, offender identification, and prosecution. School out- reach programs, especially those directed at younger children, "shall-issue" permit-granting policies. The remainder of the are indirect and longer-term. Although most methods have state is "shall-issue" (10). deterrent capability, few are physically preventative. Some assaults are entirely unprovoked and are likely to be caused by With regard to open carry or the ability of a private citizen individuals with mental illness or alcohol or drug problems, or to openly carry a firearm in public, states and jurisdictions by youths or gangs. The bus operator may be a stellar, veteran also have varying levels of permissiveness. States may be employee doing his or her job perfectly and still be attacked categorized into the following groups: out of the blue. Physically preventative methods, such as the barrier and self-defense tools and training, may be the only Open carry state--Open carry is allowed without a li- methods that can deflect these types of attacks. The barrier that cense on foot and inside vehicles. Open carry states separates the operator from passengers is one of the few mea- include Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, sures designed to prevent an assailant from physically access- Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, ing the operator. Self-defense training can prevent injury to the Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming. operator by teaching the operator techniques to defend himself Open carry friendly state--Open carry is allowed with- or herself; the physical contact required for self-defense does out a license but not inside a vehicle. Open carry friendly pose a risk of injury to the operator. Self-defense tools are states include Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, another preventative measure, may be used at a distance, and Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, do not require physical contact with the assailant. Although Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia, these measures are primarily for operator protection, most other and Wisconsin. measures protect the passengers as well as the operator. Self- Licensed open carry state--Open carry is allowed with defense tools and training require the operator's active par- a license on foot and inside vehicles. Licensed open ticipation in the training--if the operator has not undergone carry states include Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, training on the appropriate use of the self-defense tool or self- Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Minnesota, New defense techniques, both the agency and the operator could Jersey, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Utah. face liability for use of excessive force. Agencies in states that Nonpermissive open carry state--Open carry is highly have weak firearm carry laws may be more amenable to issu- restricted or banned. Nonpermissive open carry states ing self-defense tools and providing self-defense training. include Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, New York, Okla- homa, South Carolina, and Texas. Carry laws for concealed and open carry differ by state Rural open carry state--Open carry is allowed in non- and can also vary by jurisdiction within a state. These laws incorporated areas. California is the only rural open influence the operator's perception of his or her security. In carry state (11). states or jurisdictions with lenient firearms laws, greater pro- portions of households own firearms and there is greater like- Agencies experiencing assaults on operators owing to lihood that any resident will carry them on their person and fare disputes, rules violations, and customer service issues onto a transit vehicle. Carry laws pertaining to concealed may consider refresher training for operators, customer ser- firearms are categorized into the following groups: vice improvements, or changes in agency policy and super- vision role. For verbal assaults, audio surveillance may help "No-issue" states do not allow any private citizen to determine the nature of the incidents and what may be done carry a concealed firearm. to prevent them, and in developing operator training in ver- "May-issue" states may issue permits for concealed fire- bal techniques such as verbal judo. Also, a good operator arms, partially at the discretion of local authorities. selection practice can help agencies identify individuals "Shall-issue" states require a permit to carry a concealed who are resilient to the many stresses bus operators face on firearm, but the granting authority must issue a permit the job. when minimum criteria are met, making the acquisition of a permit relatively easy. The decision-making process on which measures and "Unrestricted" states allow residents to carry a con- policies to deploy is based on many factors, including pur- cealed firearm without a permit. pose, effectiveness, cost, feasibility, liability issues, and oper-

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9 ator and customer perspectives. The institutional and legal directly or indirectly or (b) they attempt or threaten, by act or milieus in which the agency operates influence the security gesture, to apply force to another person, if they have, or methods most relevant for its transit system. The ability of a cause that other person to believe upon reasonable grounds measure to address other crimes, such as crimes against pas- that they have, present ability to effect their purpose. sengers, vandalism, safety, and accident investigations, is a significant benefit for the agency. Also, agencies implement The National Transit Database follows the Uniform Crime multiple methods simultaneously, and some methods, such as Reporting definitions and guidelines and requires all Part I community and school outreach, are less direct and require and Part II assaults that result in an arrest to be reported in the time for their effects to become manifest. Other variables that Safety & Security 40 and 50 summary reports. Part II assaults will affect effectiveness may or may not be under the direct not resulting in an arrest are not reportable to the National control of the agency. Customer service, which can have a sig- Transit Database. nificant effect on the likelihood of passenger assaults against operators, is in the direct control of the agency. However, the Recent Incidents general crime rate and proportion of youths in the system are exogenous variables. Hence, it may be difficult for agencies to The following incidents that have recently occurred on U.S. determine the effectiveness of a single policy or measure. and Canadian transit systems highlight the need for increased protection of bus operators. Definition of Assault On March 8, 2010, on International Women's Day, a Maple Ridge Coast Mountain Bus Company female bus Transit agencies have differing definitions of operator "as- operator was gripped by the neck by a disgruntled pas- sault." A broad definition is used in this report. Assaults are senger and dragged from her seat. Passengers quickly defined in this synthesis as follows: summoned help (14). On September 1, 2009, at 1:15 a.m., a 15-year-old Overt physical and verbal acts by a passenger that interfere with drunken teen punched a Coast Mountain Bus Company the mission of a bus operator--which is to complete his or her scheduled run safely--and that adversely affect the safety of the operator in the right eye so severely that he lost control operator and customers. of the bus, which started weaving in traffic. The punch broke the operator's glasses and the orbital bone in his This definition includes acts of aggression that may or right eye (15). may not result in injury to the operator, and is somewhat On June 4, 2009, 17-year-old Darrion Scott boarded a broader than the definitions used by the FBI Uniform Crime New Orleans Regional Transit Authority bus with her Reporting Program. The Uniform Crime Reporting cate- baby and was repeatedly asked to fold her stroller. She not gories related to the definition of "assault" used in this syn- only refused, but poured the contents of her baby's milk thesis are aggravated assault, simple assault, robbery, rape, bottle on Hanella Johnson, an RTA operator for 18 years, and homicide. Aggravated assault, homicide, robbery, and before stabbing her. Luckily, the operator survived (16). rape are Part I offenses, which are more serious than Part II offenses. Aggravated assault is defined as "an unlawful attack Many assaults are caused by fare disputes. The following by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting examples highlight the importance of agency policies and severe or aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault usu- operator training inasmuch as many assaults are preceded by ally is accompanied by the use of a weapon or by means interactions and disputes between the operator and patron: likely to produce death or great bodily harm" (12). The weapon may be a firearm, knife or cutting instrument, other On March 23, 2010, at 3:10 p.m., a Chicago Transit dangerous weapon, or parts of the body such as hands, fists, Authority operator was attacked with a blunt object and or feet. Simple assault is defined as: injured on a bus after a fare dispute. The operator was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital in serious condition (17). In Edmonton, Canada, on January 26, 2010, a female pas- . . . an unlawful physical attack by one person upon another senger demanded a transfer even though she had not paid. where neither the offender displays a weapon, nor the victim suf- fers obvious severe or aggravated bodily injury involving appar- The passenger then hit the operator, who was also female, ent broken bones, loss of teeth, possible internal injury, severe twice. The operator, afraid for her safety, gave the pas- laceration, or loss of consciousness. To unlawfully place another senger a transfer and politely asked her to sit down (18). person in reasonable fear of bodily harm through the use of threatening words and/or other conduct, but without displaying In January 2010, in Minneapolis, a male passenger a weapon or subjecting the victim to actual physical attack (e.g., assaulted a female bus operator after a passenger inserted intimidation)" (13). the fare card incorrectly. As the operator was explaining what had happened, the passenger began verbally attack- Section 265(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada states that ing the operator, and she asked him to exit the bus. He a person commits an assault when (a) without the consent of punched her in the stomach, and the operator returned another person, they apply force intentionally to that person, the hit, which led to additional punches (19).