Robbery due to a model of Nike sneakers for six thousand. This is also what current train crime looks like. “The owners started threatening to punch him in the face if he didn’t lend them the sneakers. That’s why the injured party gave them the shoes,” Jan Rybanský, spokesman for the Prague police, described the June attack.
Theft from people, in trains or railway objects, offenses against public order and civil coexistence, offenses related to alcohol and drug addiction. Sprayer attacks on trains and stations are not exceptional either. The police have to deal with all this at the central Prague station, where 90,000 people pass by every day. For October, in the Hlavní nádraží – západ area, criminal investigators recorded over 180 crimes.
Eight dozen violations of the law are connected with the Smíchov station in October. In October, there were almost two dozen cases directly at the Holešovice railway station. According to police reports and crime maps, thieves also steal cars at stations, among other things.
Fleming to the east
The Capitol itself is represented by night regional connections, the so-called “Flamendraks”. “Aggressive drunks and drug addicts, homeless people. These people tend to be unpredictable,” says Jiří, who works as a train conductor mainly on the “esque” lines from Prague to Kolín.
There shouldn’t be so many unpleasant encounters or damaged trains thanks to the introduction of more patrols. “The patrols have a positive response from passengers and train staff. Almost every day, patrols, among other things, assist in excluding people from transport. These are passengers without travel documents, persons under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” explained Lukáš Kubát, ČD spokesman. During the autumn, only six patrols worked so far.
“They oversee safety on more than forty morning and evening services. At the same time, we are increasing security at some turnaround stations,” said Jiří Ješeta, ČD’s deputy director general for passenger transport.
Before the patrol members can join the train service, they have to meet a number of conditions. “You have to go through training to enter the railway yard. Every employee of the security agency needs a certificate of professional qualification as a guard and is trained for specific activities on trains,” explained Lukáš Kubát.
Passengers, as well as train crew members, will feel even safer in a few weeks. “At the beginning of next year, more than thirty patrols will accompany the trains in Prague and the Central Bohemia region,” explained Kubát.
A memory of the “shitholes”
Security on the lines
More than 30 patrols will be deployed by ČD in regional trains and at stations from the New Year. Six patrols are now operating in trial operation. Security oversees security on more than forty morning and evening services.
Ten million crowns so far this year, ČD has spent on graffiti removal. Cleaning crews cleaned the interiors of 68 and the exteriors of 64 units. In terms of numbers, this corresponds to almost the entire fleet of CityElephants in Prague and the Central Bohemia region. CityElefant, with an area of graffiti of 150 square meters, workers clean for up to 10 hours. Up to 40 kilograms of chemicals and two thousand liters of water are needed to clean one CityElephant.
182 Violations of the law are recorded by the police in the Hlavní nádraží – west area, and that’s only for the month of October.
Source: ČD, Map of crime
However, this type of hired protection has limits, according to experts. “There is only one problem – legislation. The only thing that distinguishes a security guard from an ordinary citizen is a reflective vest with the inscription Security. The on-site watchman acts as a preventive measure, he can expel the vandal from areas to which he does not have access, or detain or call the police. Of course, everything only within the framework of applicable laws,” pointed out security expert Stanislav Kazbunda.
ČD is not the only organization operating on the railways that invests in the safety of its clients and its assets. Last summer, the Railway Administration (SŽ) launched one of the largest and most technically advanced cyber security workplaces in the state administration.
“Due to the huge number of critical systems, we decided to build our own specialized workplace for cyber security,” said David Miklas, director of the SŽ Railway Telematics Administration. It also has its own Security Operations Dispatch, the so-called BOD, in Pernerova Street in Karlín. From there, he monitors the errand routes and the safety of his employees or the alarm sensors of the buildings.
It reminds of the time when the railways were also protected by the Corps of Armed Railway Protection until 1992. After that, the Federal Railway Police operated briefly, both under the Ministry of Transport.
“Every company, not only transport, tries to protect its property by all available and legal means, and in the case of using a security agency, this is a very effective prevention. It is not possible to rely only on the police, because they cannot be everywhere,” added Kubát for ČD.