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Monday, 25 March, 2002, 14:16 GMT
Vandalism-hit rail region cuts crime
West Midlands railway
Vandalism is a continuing problem for rail authorities
The number of cases of rail vandalism in the Midlands has dropped by 12%, according to figures published on Monday.

Last year the region topped the national league table for malicious damage attacks - and extra undercover police patrols were brought in to reduce crime levels.

But over the last 12 months, the industry has reduced trespass and vandalism figures from 3,734 reported incidents to 3,295.

Nationally there are 120 accidental deaths caused by vandalism each year.

New initiatives

As part of the fight against vandalism a new police train, provided by Virgin, has been unveiled at Birmingham International Station.

Richard Fearn, Director of Railtrack in the Midlands, said: "This trend is very encouraging and shows the rail industry's efforts to highlight the dangers of rail vandalism.

Police patrols
Extra patrols have cut crime on railways

"The cost of trespass and vandalism is enormous, both in terms of delays and damage to trains and the infrastructure.

"But it is the threat to lives and the safety of passengers and railway staff that is the main cause of concern."

A number of initiatives were introduced to reduce vandalism each year.

These include:

  • Improving fencing
  • Media campaigns on vandalism black spots
  • Using Railtrack volunteers and British Transport Police to patrol areas which have been persistently vandalised
  • New CCTV cameras in Leicester

Vandalism incidents in the West Midlands have ranged from stone throwing to bikes and shopping trolleys being dumped on railway lines.

Signs and equipment have also been tampered with and embankment fires have been started.

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See also:

18 Dec 00 | Scotland
Vandalism threat to rail safety
22 Sep 00 | Scotland
Mixed results on rail crime
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