Exclusive: RTA Police Chief John Joyce on safety - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Exclusive: RTA Police Chief John Joyce on safety

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Having a transit police officer on every single bus and train isn't fiscally possible. Having a transit police officer on every single bus and train isn't fiscally possible.
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

A series of recent attacks launched against RTA riders led us to go one-on-one with the agency police chief.

John Joyce calls the system, "safe," but he admits there is a problem with juveniles: punks who steal cell phones and more.

In recent weeks, 19 Action News has seen a rider robbed at gunpoint on a train platform, others robbed on trains, or those attacked getting off buses.

Still the chief insists to our Ed Gallek, "When you report on a handful of incidents. I don't want to give anybody the impression this is happening on a regular basis."

He says most of the predators are packs of juveniles in groups often out to steal cell phones right out of passenger hands.

We asked, "Why not have more officers on trains for more visibility preventing crime before it happens?"

The chief says having an officer on every bus or train isn't realistic. RTA has 400 buses and trains rolling, but not that many officers. RTA police randomly check buses, and they ride some trains; but, they keep officers mobile.

In fact, the chief points out, arrests have been made in all of the recent attacks.

"I'd like to say this. We have a very safe system number one," Joyce told 19 Action News. "You cannot prevent every crime."

The chief says his office is also now working more closely with a new juvenile prosecutor hoping to crack down harder on the punks. In the meantime, police say don't get lax holding a phone or wallet. That would make anyone the next target.

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