SEPTA Police Ramp Up Security in Response to Recent Shootings

SEPTA Philadelphia crime

In response to a series of violent incidents, SEPTA police announce increased enforcement measures to combat crime on Philadelphia’s transit system following three fatal shootings in just three days.

Key Takeaways:

  • SEPTA police to adopt more aggressive tactics after three deadly shootings occurred on or near their bus lines within three days.
  • Police Chief Charles Lawson vows to crack down on various offenses, from fare evasion to illegal firearm possession.
  • Despite the recent spike in gun violence, overall serious crimes on the SEPTA system and citywide homicides are on the decline.

SEPTA Tightens Security After Bus Line Shootings

Following three fatal incidents on or near SEPTA bus lines, SEPTA officials, including Police Chief Charles Lawson, have declared a new approach to law enforcement on the city’s transit system.

The recent tragic incidents resulted in the deaths of Sawee Kofa, Dayemen Taylor, and Carmelo Drayton, all linked to gun violence on SEPTA bus lines, each under different circumstances.

Recent Shootings and Police Response

The series of tragic events began with 27-year-old Sawee Kofa being fatally shot in the face after an argument on a SEPTA bus in Northeast Philadelphia.

The subsequent day saw 17-year-old Dayemen Taylor killed and four others injured near a bus stop in the city’s Ogontz neighborhood.

The third incident involved 37-year-old Carmelo Drayton, who was shot and killed on a bus in South Philadelphia.

In response to these incidents, SEPTA plans to reinforce its police presence and strategies to prevent further violence.

SEPTA’s Tactics to Enhance Rider and Employee Safety

Chief Lawson outlined the enforcement strategies emphasizing legality and constitutional rights but with a determined and proactive stance against crime.

We are going to target every criminal code on the books,” Lawson stated, highlighting their focus on a variety of violations including fare evasion, drug use, and illegal firearm possession.

Reduction in Overall Crime Despite Recent Shootings

Despite the alarming nature of these events, SEPTA and citywide statistics show a decrease in major crimes.

As of the latest reports, there have been 55 homicides in Philadelphia in 2024, a 30% decrease from the previous year.

However, Lawson points out that gun violence remains a persistent challenge, not showing the same declining trends as other major crimes.

Deployment Strategies and Staff Expansion

To address the most vulnerable areas, Lawson announced plans to strategically move officers to bus lines where they see the greatest need.

With over 230 officers patrolling, there are plans to expand the force by hiring 40 additional officers by year’s end.

They are as frustrated and angry about crime as I am,” Lawson said, expressing confidence in his team and their collaboration with city partners.

SEPTA’s Proactive Measures and Community Involvement

Further discussing preventative measures, Lawson emphasized the importance of community engagement in maintaining security.

He urged riders to use the SEPTA app to report any concerns, which would enhance the way SEPTA employees and the public can help monitor and report issues promptly.

Potential Legal Support Through Special Prosecution

When asked about the potential benefits of Act 40, which involves a special prosecutor for crimes on SEPTA properties, Lawson expressed his support for the current district attorney, reinforcing his trust in the existing legal framework to prosecute crimes effectively.

In conclusion, while the recent surge in violence has been troubling, SEPTA police are committed to implementing rigorous new safety measures to protect their riders and staff, backed by strategic staffing enhancements and community cooperation.