Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Grafton MBTA Commuter Rail Parking Lot Break-Ins

A few months ago, Train Stopping posted about vandalism and break-ins at the Westborough MBTA parking lot. Well, it looks like that vandalism has made its way to the Grafton parking lot

For the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing a lot of broken glass and smashed windows in the parking lot. I’ve also heard disgruntled commuters complaining about what has been taken from their cars . . . ranging from change, to CDs, to GPS devices, to Fast Lane transponders . . . it appears that nothing is safe left inside a car.

On the train last week, I was standing behind a couple of Grafton commuters who were talking about the break-ins. One woman was saying that she had filed a police report with the town of Grafton and that the police responded to her that there have been over 30 (!) break-ins in the last 4-6 weeks.

I find that disturbing on a number of levels, not only the fact that these break-ins are occurring, but that they’re so frequent. Mostly I’m aggravated that THERE HAS BEEN NO PUBLIC INFORMATION about these break-ins. Neither the Worcester T&G nor The Grafton News has taken up this story at all to bring attention to the problem and thus to either encourage commuters to clean their cars out or to persuade law enforcement to step up patrolling the area.

Grafton’s parking lot is not as secluded as Westborough’s lot, meaning that you can see it from Route 30. However, I think the suburban lots get the shaft from the MBTA police (who maintains jurisdiction over the MBTA parking lots). If this lot was monitored either personally or electronically via surveillance cameras, this would go a long way to curbing the rash of break-ins or at least catching the perpetrators.

I’ve started communicating with the MBTA regarding this and encourage you to do the same.

Here's hoping everyone's car is safe while it is parked at the commuter rail lots.


AJ said...

This whole thing with break-ins is very discouraging. I really have a problem with people not respecting other people's property, whether it's breaking a window, or just slamming their door into yours. Obviously breaking windows is much worse, but seriously. While I realize it's probably some punk kids and not adults, it's still disturbing.
I can say that I have gotten off in Westboro about 6 times in the past month-month and a half, and hitched a ride back to the Grafton lot with a friend who was coming back to my house. The Grafton Police have been patrolling the lot every single time. Each time, I had taken the 506 train home, and they were in the lot just after the train leaves. It made me wonder if they just swing through at that time a day, or if they try to be that vigilant all day long.

Keith said...

Where are the T police? If these are MBTA Parking Lots, aren't they supposed to be patrolling them? Do they do it at all? Once a day?

A friend of mine was ticketed last summer by the T police for parking in a fire lane at the West Natick lot. His car was towed to a garage in Southboro. All in all he ended up paying almost $200 in fines and fees to get his car back. The interesting thing he said was that when his car was first missing, he called the Natick Police, who told him they have no jurisdiction over that lot since it is public property.

Maybe the vandals know the police agencies fight over jurisdictional issues with T parking lots and that the T police won't bother with having to drive to the western 'burbs, so they get brazen and break into cars that are pretty much sitting ducks...there all day long with very little traffic coming through the lot itself.

Train Rider said...

I'm wondering where the T police are as well. I think the goal for the suburban lots like Westborough or Grafton should be camera surveillance, because they obviously don't have the manpower to have a physical presence onsite. Then again, I think it's a delicate balance between the local police force and the MBTA police - I would think the local police probably want to do more and patrol the area since its citizens are directly affected, but since they don't have official jurisdiction, their hands are tied. It's frustrating on so many levels.

Grafton Commuter said...

My car was broken into as well, and ever since it happened, I have been trying to warn people about it. The Grafton News is running a story on the break-ins, I believe, in the next edition that comes out this week. Last night I was on the Worcester News (channel 3) talking about these break-ins, and this morning there were 2 patrol cars at the station. Hopefully they are starting to take this seriously. We just have to keep on them (Grafton police and MBTA police) about it, keep warning people to protect their cars and the things in them, and make sure that all the break-ins get reported.

Funny note--the night my car was broken into I had to leave it there, sitting in the pouring rain, until the police could come the next day (they were too busy that night apparently). Because I left my car there, I got a ticket. Nice.